Release to the Gas Phase of Inorganic Elements during Wood Combustion. Part 2: Influence of Fuel Composition

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Combustion of wood for heat and power production may cause problems such as ash deposition, corrosion, and harmful emissions of gases and particulate matter. These problems are all directly related to the release of inorganic elements (in particular Cl, S, K, Na, Zn, and Pb) from the fuel to the gas phase. The aims of this study are to obtain quantitative data on the release of inorganic elements during wood combustion and to investigate the influence of fuel composition. Quantitative release data were obtained by pyrolyzing and subsequently combusting small samples of wood (~30 g) at various temperatures in the range of 500–1150 °C in a laboratory-scale tube reactor and by performing mass balance calculations based on the weight measurements and chemical analyses of the wood fuels and the residual ash samples. Four wood fuels with different ash contents and inorganic compositions were investigated, including wood chips from spruce and beech, bark, and fiber board. The results showed a high release of Cl (~85–100%) and S (~50–70%) already at 500 °C, so that only small variations in the release trends of Cl and S were seen between the different fuels in the range of 500–1150 °C. The release of the alkali metals K and Na was, however, strongly dependent on both the temperature and the fuel composition under the investigated conditions. The release of the heavy metals Zn and Pb started around 500 °C and increased sharply to more than 85% at 850 °C in the case of spruce, beech, and bark, and was therefore mainly dependent on the temperature. By comparing the data to literature data, and by using tools such as scanning electron microscopy, chemical fractionation analysis, and equilibrium calculations, a better understanding of the release mechanisms was obtained. Mechanisms for the release of Cl, S, K, Na, Zn, and Pb during wood combustion are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy & Fuels
Pages (from-to)1598-1609
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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