VOC emissions from residential combustion of Southern and mid-European woods

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Emissions of trace gases (carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), total hydrocarbons (THC)), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from combustion of European beech, Pyrenean oak and black poplar in a domestic woodstove and fireplace were studied. These woods are widely used as biofuel in residential combustion in Southern and mid-European countries. VOCs in the flue gases were collected in Tedlar bags, concentrated in sorbent tubes and analysed by thermal desorption-gas chromatography–flame ionisation detection (GC–FID). CO2 emissions ranged from 1415 ± 136 to 1879 ± 29 g kg−1 (dry basis). The highest emission factors for CO and THC, 115.8 ± 11.7 and 95.6 24.7 ± 6.3 g kg−1 (dry basis), respectively, were obtained during the combustion of black poplar in the fireplace. European beech presented the lowest CO and THC emission factors for both burning appliances. Significant differences in emissions of VOCs were observed among wood species burnt and combustion devices. In general the highest emission factors were obtained from the combustion of Pyrenean oak in the woodstove. Among the VOCs identified, benzene and related compounds were always the most abundant group, followed by oxygenated compounds and aliphatic hydrocarbons. The amount and the composition of emitted VOCs were strongly affected by the wood composition, the type of burning device and operating conditions. Emission data obtained in this work are useful for modelling the impact of residential wood combustion on air quality and tropospheric ozone formation.