Determination of off-gassing and self-heating potential of wood pellets – Method comparison and correlation analysis

Irene Sedlmayer*, Mehrdad Arshadi, Walter Haslinger, Hermann Hofbauer, Ida Larsson, Anders Lönnermark, Calle Nilsson, Annett Pollex, Christoph Schmidl, Wolfgang Stelte, Elisabeth Wopienka, Waltraud Bauer-Emhofer

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Several methods for identifying the phenomena of self-heating and off-gassing during production, transportation and storage of wood pellets have been developed in recent years. Research focused on the exploration of the underlying mechanisms, influencing factors or the quantification of self-heating or off-gassing tendencies. The present study aims at identifying a clear correlation between self-heating and off-gassing. Thus, different methods for determining self-heating and off-gassing potentials of wood pellets are compared. Therefore, eleven wood pellet batches from the European market were analyzed. For this investigation, three methods for the determination of self-heating, like isothermal calorimetry, oxi-press and thermogravimetric analysis, and four methods for off-gassing, like volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions measurements, gas phase analysis of stored pellets in a closed container by offline and by glass flask method and determination of fatty and resin acids content, were performed. Results were ranked according to the self-heating and off-gassing tendency providing a common overview of the analyzed pellets batches. Relations between different methods were investigated by Spearman’s correlation coefficient. Evaluation of the results revealed an equal suitability of offline and glass flask methods to predict off-gassing tendency and indicated a very significant correlation with isothermal calorimetry for the identification of self-heating tendency. The thermogravimetric analysis as well as the fatty and resin acids determination proved to be insufficient for the exclusive assessment of self-heating and off-gassing tendency, respectively.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)894-903
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Storage
    • Emission
    • Self-ignition
    • Carbon monoxide
    • Laboratory methods


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