Biomass burning : particle emissions, characteristics, and airborne measurements

Wardoyo, Arinto Yudi (2007) Biomass burning : particle emissions, characteristics, and airborne measurements. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


Biomass burning started to attract attention since the last decade because of its impacts on the atmosphere and the environmental air quality, as well as significant potential effects on human health and global climate change. Knowledge of particle emission characteristics from biomass burning is crucially important for the quantitative assessment of the potential impacts. This thesis presents the results of study aimed towards comprehensive characterization of particle emissions from biomass burning. The study was conducted both under controlled laboratory conditions, to quantify the particle size distribution and emission factors by taking into account various factors which may affect the particle characteristics, and in the field, to investigate biomass burning processes in the real life situations and to examine vertical profile of particles in the atmosphere.

To simulate different environmental conditions, a new technique has been developed for investigating particle emissions from biomass burning in the laboratory. As biomass burning may occur in a field at various wind speeds and burning rates, the technique was designed to allow adjustment of the flow rates of the air introduced into the chamber, in order to control burning under different conditions. In addition, the technique design has enabled alteration of the high particle concentrations, allowing conducting measurements with the instrumentations that had the upper concentration limits exciding the concentrations characteristic to the biomass burning.

The technique was applied to characterize particle emissions from burning of several tree species common to Australian forests. The aerosol particles were characterized in terms of size distribution and emission factors, such as PM2.5 particle mass emission factor and particle number emission factor, under various burning conditions. The characteristics of particles over a range of burning phases (e.g., ignition, flaming, and smoldering) were also investigated. The results showed that particle characteristics depend on the type of tree, part of tree, and the burning rate.

In particular, fast burning of the wood samples produced particles with the CMD of 60 nm during the ignition phase and 30 nm for the rest of the burning process. Slow burning of the wood samples produced large particles with the CMD of 120 nm, 60 nm and 40 nm for the ignition, flaming and smoldering phases, respectively. The CMD of particles emitted by burning the leaves and branches was found to be 50 nm for the flaming phase and 30 nm for the smoldering phase, under fast burning conditions. Under slow burning conditions, the CMD of particles was found to be between 100 to 200 nm for the ignition and flaming phase, and 50 nm for the smoldering phase.

For fast burning, the average particle number emission factors were between 3.3 to 5.7 x 1015 particles/kg for wood and 0.5 to 6.9 x 1015 particles/kg for leaves and branches. The PM2.5 emission factors were between 140 to 210 mg/kg for wood and 450 to 4700 mg/kg for leaves and branches. For slow burning conditions, the average particle number emission factors were between 2.8 to 44.8 x 1013 particles/kg for wood and 0.5 to 9.3 x 1013 particles/kg for leaves and branches, and the PM2.5 emissions factors were between 120 to 480 mg/kg for wood and 3300 to 4900 mg/kg for leaves and branches.

The field measurements were conducted to investigate particle emissions from biomass burning in the Northern Territory of Australia over dry seasons. The results of field studies revealed that diameters of particles in ambient air emissions were within the size range observed during laboratory investigations. The laboratory measurements found that the particles released during the controlled burning were of a diameter between 30 and 210 nm, depending on the burning conditions. Under fast burning conditions, smaller particles were produced with a diameter in the range of 30 to 60 nm, whilst larger particles, with a diameter between 60 nm and 210 nm, were produced during slow burning. The airborne field measurements of biomass particles found that most of the particles measured under the boundary layer had a CMD of (83 ± 13) nm during the early dry season (EDS), and (127 ± 6) nm during the late dry season (LDS). The characteristics of ambient particles were found to be significantly different at the EDS and the LDS due to several factors including moisture content of vegetation, location of fires related to the flight paths, intensity of fires, and burned areas. Specifically, the investigations of the vertical profiles of particles in the atmosphere have revealed significant differences in the particle properties during early dry season and late dry season. The characteristics of particle size distribution played a significant role in these differences.

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ID Code: 16492
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Morawska, Lidia, Brown, Richard, & Ristovski, Zoran
Keywords: biomass burning, emission factors, ultrafine particles, particle number emission, particle size distribution, particle vertical profile, Queensland trees, Northern Territory of Australia, particle number concentration, Northern Territory Australia, airborne measurements, vertical profile
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Department: Faculty of Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Arinto Yudi Wardoyo
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:04
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 14:40

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