Chemical and physical characterization of emissions from birch wood combustion in a wood stove

E Hedberg, Adam Kristensson, M Ohlsson, C Johansson, PA Johansson, Erik Swietlicki, V Vesely, U Wideqvist, R Westerholm

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271 Citations (SciVal)


The purpose of this study was to characterize the emissions of a large number of chemical compounds emitted from birch wood combustion in a wood stove. Birch wood is widely used as fuel in Swedish household appliances. The fuel load was held constant during six experiments. Particles < 2.5 mum diameter were collected and the size distribution of the particles was measured. The results were compared to the size distribution in road traffic emissions. It could be seen that the number distribution differed between the sources. In traffic exhaust, the number of particles maximized at 20 nm, while the number distribution from wood burning ranged from 20 to 300 nm. The ratio K/Ca on particles was found. to be significantly different in wood burning compared to road dust, range 30-330 for the former and 0.8+/-0.15 for the latter. The source profile of common elements emitted from wood-burning differed from that found on particles at a street-level site or in long-distance transported particles. The ratio toluene/benzene in this study was found to be in the range 0.2-0.7, which is much lower than the ratio 3.6+/-0.5 in traffic exhaust emissions. Formaldehyde and acetone were the most abundant compounds among the volatile ketones and aldehydes. The emission factor varied between 180-710mg/kg wood for formaldehyde and 5-1300mg/kg wood for acetone. Of the organic acids analyzed (3,4,5)-trimethoxy benzoic acid was the most abundant compound. Of the PAHs reported, fluorene, phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene and pyrene contribute to more than 70% of the mass of PAH. Of the elements analyzed, K and Si were the most abundant elements, having emission factors of 27 and 9mg/kg wood, respectively. Although fluoranthene has a toxic equivalence factor of 5% of benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P), it can be seen that the toxic potency of fluoranthene in wood burning emissions is of the same size as B(a)P. This indicates that the relative carcinogenic potency contribution of fluoranthene in wood smoke would be about 40% of B(a)P. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4823-4837
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Nuclear Physics (Faculty of Technology) (011013007)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


  • aldehydes
  • wood combustion
  • PAH
  • particle size distribution
  • BTX
  • ketones


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