ABSTRACT: Combustion of wildland fuels represents a major source of particulate matter (PM) and light-absorbing elemental carbon (EC) on a national and global scale, but the emission factors and source profiles have not been well characterized with respect to different fuels and combustion phases. These uncertainties limit the accuracy of current emission inventories, smoke forecasts, and source apportionments. This study investigates the evolution of gaseous and particulate emission and combustion efficiency by burning wildland fuels in a laboratory combustion facility. Emission factors for carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), total hydrocarbon (THC), nitrogen oxides (NO(x)), PM, light extinction and absorption cross sections, and spectral scattering cross sections specific to flaming and smoldering phases are reported. Emission factors are generally reproducible within +/- 20% during the flaming phase, which, despite its short duration, dominates the carbon emission (mostly in the form of CO2) and the production of light absorption and EC. Higher and more variable emission factors for CO, THC, and PM are found during the smoldering phase, especially for fuels containing substantial moisture. Organic carbon (OC) and EC mass account for a majority (i.e., > 60%) of PM mass; other important elements include potassium, chlorine, and sulfur. Thermal analysis separates the EC into subfractions based on analysis temperature demonstrating that high-temperature EC (EC2; at 700 degrees C) varies from 1% to 70% of PM among biomass burns, compared to 75% in kerosene soot. Despite this, the conversion factor between EC and light absorption emissions is rather consistent across fuels and burns, ranging from 7.8 to 9.6 m2/g EC. Findings from this study should be considered in the development of PM and EC emission inventories for visibility and radiative forcing assessments.
Environmental Science and Technology 07/2007; 41(12):4317-25. · 5.23 Impact Factor