Will the measurement of emissions from heating wood be normalised soon?

The National Industrial Environment and Risks Institute is comparing the different methods of measurement of emissions from wood combustion particles in order to determine one which will be common throughout Europe.

The study aims to ultimately better control of air pollution from domestic heating using wood and improve the performance of domestic biomass energy system. Funded by ADEME the project bears the very technical name of EN_PME_TEST. Four methods are being tested.

The first works by the removal of solid particles on a heated filter, followed by a measurement of total volatile organic compounds (COVt) by flame ionization analysis (FID).

The second is the method used by the dilution associated with INERIS mass measurements of particles continuously (TEOM).

The third method comes from Switzerland and assesses the potential of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) through a micro reactivity tube (μsmog chamber).

The fourth monitoring or measurement method studies the continuous mass of particles, developed and marketed specifically for applications in real conditions, emissions from domestic heating wood..

One may question the value of measuring these particles? Or why a common method for the whole of Europe is required? The answers are simple. To the first question, the particles are measured as they are highly polluting and dangerous to health. Wood heating rejects fine particles and highly polluting gas to the atmosphere. In France for example, emissions from domestic wood heaters are a fairly significant share of national emissions of particles PM2.5 (fine particles less than 2.5 microns): 29%, 27% because of domestic appliances and open fires, according to the interprofessional Technical Centre for studies on Atmospheric pollution (CITEPA).

To ensure control of pollution and improve equipment performance, it is essential to be able to rely on a common measurement methodology at European level. A method of measuring these fine particles common to Europe could also encourage the European Commission to enact and enforce guidelines and standards to its member states relating to emissions of fine particulate emissions from wood heaters.