Experimental and numerical analysis of fine particle and soot formation in a modern 100 MW pulverized biomass heating plant

Niko P. Niemelä, Fanni Mylläri, Niina Kuittinen, Minna Aurela, Aku Helin, Joel Kuula, Kimmo Teinilä, Markus Nikka, Oskari Vainio, Anssi Arffman, Henna Lintusaari, Hilkka Timonen, Topi Rönkkö, Tero Joronen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The formation of soot, organic, and inorganic aerosols has a profound effect on the environmental and technological feasibility of biomass combustion. In this work, the soot and aerosol processes are examined for a modern pulverized wood-burning 100 MWth district heating plant. Experimental data was collected from two locations inside the furnace (30% and 100% thermal loads), including measurements for fine particle (PM1) number size distribution, number concentration, and chemical composition. The experiments were complemented with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations and Plug-Flow Reactor (PFR) modeling. The measurements and modeling are combined in a comprehensive analysis, providing fundamental understanding on the aerosol processes inside the furnace. The wood-powder combustion is efficient under both thermal loads, indicated by the low unburned carbon content in fly-ash, and the low CO, NO and soot emissions (<0.3 mg/Nm3). The fine particles consist mainly of K2SO4, and of lesser amounts of alkali salts (NaCl, KCl), and Ca and Mg compounds (oxides or sulfates). A large concentration of KOH/K2CO3 vapor may exist in the flue gas and play a significant role in the heat exchanger fouling. The applied modeling tools are shown to provide accurate estimations for the composition and formation regions of fine particles inside the industrial biomass furnaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111960
JournalCombustion and Flame
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biomass
  • Combustion
  • Fine particles
  • Fouling
  • Pulverized fuel
  • Soot


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