Workshop: Aerosols from small-scale biomass combustion plants

27. January 2011
Stadthalle Graz
Graz, AT

The workshop is an integral part of the "Central European Biomass Conference 2011" and will give a comprehensive overview regarding aerosols from biomass combustion focusing on the following relevant topics: "Low-Dust combustion technologies", "Small-scale precipitators" and "Health effects".


IEA Bioenergy Task 32 "Biomass Combustion and Co-firing"

Content Description

Most recently, fine particulate pollution gave rise to debate in numerous European countries as concentration limits were overstepped more frequently and more clearly than in the past. Urban areas were especially affected. Industry, traffic, agriculture and residential heating proof mainly responsible for high fine particulate emission levels. In Austria for instance, within the residential heating sector small-scale biomass combustion plants are responsible for about 88% of the PM10 emissions, most of them (about 86%) are poorly controlled old biomass combustion systems.

Compared to oil or natural gas, biomass contains a considerable amount of ash. This inevitably leads to fly ash emissions during combustion. In medium and large-scale biomass combustion systems fly ash emissions are typically efficiently precipitated by appropriate filters (ESP or baghouse filters). Small-scale (residential) biomass combustion plants however, are not equipped with filters due to economic reasons and the immature status of the technology. Fly ash emissions of complete biomass combustion, which is usually achieved by modern and automatically controlled small-scale biomass combustion plants, consist mainly of inorganic aerosols and are related to the PM1 fraction (particulate matter with a particle size smaller 1.0 µm). Carbonaceous aerosols are a product of incomplete combustion, which is often the case in poorly controlled old biomass combustion systems or natural draught systems (like chimney stoves or tiled stoves), and consist of elementary carbon (soot) or condensed hydrocarbon compounds (organic aerosols). Moreover, old residential heating systems emit considerably higher PM1 emissions than modern small-scale biomass combustion systems. The formation of carbonaceous aerosols can be notably reduced by technical measures concerning combustion and process control technology (primary measures). The formation of inorganic aerosols however cannot be significantly prevented in the same way but needs new "Low-Dust combustion" technologies or requires secondary measures such as dust precipitators.

Fine particulate matter is the thoracic fraction out of total particulate matter, i.e. the fraction that can pass the larynx and reach the lung. There is strong epidemiologic indication that particulate matter in air has serious adverse health effects, but there are also indications that there exist considerable differences regarding the toxicological effects between inorganic aerosols and carbonaceous aerosols, which is of great relevance for the environmental evaluation of different small-scale biomass combustion technologies.

The workshop accommodates the aforementioned issues by its three key topics "Low-Dust combustion technologies", "Small-scale precipitators" and "Health effects" and will thus give a comprehensive overview of ongoing developments and recent findings.


  • 14:00 Welcome address
    Martina Ammer, Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, Vienna, Austria
  • 14:05 Introduction
    Ingwald Obernberger
  • 14:10 Low-dust technologies
    Fine particle emissions of a novel type of gasification combustion pellet burner
    Ilpo Nuutinen et al., University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
  • 14:40 Low-dust technologies
    Primary measures for low-dust combustion - relevant findings
    Thomas Brunner, BIOS BIOENERGIESYSTEME Gmbh, BE2020+ GmbH, Graz, Austria
  • 15:10 Low-dust technologies
    Reduction of particle emissions by using additives
    Linda S. Bäfver, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Boras, Sweden
  • 15:40 Small-scale precipitators
    Evaluation of small-scale precipitators in Denmark - results of lab- / field tests
    Ole Schleicher, FORCE Technoliogy, Brøndby, Denmark
  • 16:10 Coffee break
  • 16:30 Small-scale precipitators
    Electrostatic precpitators for small-scale wood combustion systems - results from lab- and field tests
    Hans Hartmann, TFZ, Straubing, Germany
  • 17:00 Small-scale precipitators
    Characterisation of particles from wood combustion with respect to health relevance and electrostatic precipitation
    Thomas Nussbaumer, Verenum, Switzerland
  • 17:30 Health effects
    Development of a measurement methode for health effects of PM-emissions from biomass combustion and evaluation of results achieved
    Volker Lenz, German Biomass Research Center, Leipzig
  • 18:00 Health effects
    Influence of combustion conditions on the genotoxic potential of fine particle emissions from small-scale wood combustion
    Joachim Kelz, BE2020+ GmbH, Graz, Austria
  • 18:30 Health effects
    Health related toxicological effects of aerosols from small-scale biomass combustion systems
    Maija-Riitta Hirvonen, Department of Environmental Health, University of Eastern Finland
  • 19:00 Closing

Chairman: Ingwald Obernberger

Target Audience

This workshop targets on representatives from industry, policy makers, NGOs and academia.

Participant Information


As the workshop is an integral part of the Central European Biomass Conference 2011, visitors to the workshop need to register for the conference. It is possible to book one single conference day.

Contact Address

Jaap Koppejan
IEA Bioenergy Task 32
Tel.: +31 (53) 711 2519

Ingwald Obernberger
Graz University of Technology
Tel.: +43 (316) 481300 12