Special session: Impacts of biomass fuels

Air quality impacts of the expansion of biomass fuels for residential heating and power generation

You are kindly invited to contribute to the special session on "Air quality impacts of the expansion of biomass fuels for residential heating and power generation" with oral or poster presentations. Please select topic "Special session - Air quality impacts of the expansion of biomass fuels for residential heating and power generation " when submitting your abstract.

Chair: Guido Lanzani

Co-Chairs: Nicolas Moussiopoulos


Most of the climate actions have a positive impact on air quality, especially those aiming at reducing fuel consumption. In a few cases these feedbacks may be negative. The  current expansion of biomass fuels may be an opportunity for climate change mitigation, owing to their positive CO2 cycle, but it may lead to air quality impairment,  especially in areas characterised by frequent unfavourable dispersion conditions, like in alpine valleys or in urban/suburban areas.

Wood burning for domestic heating in stoves and fireplaces can have negative impact on both indoor and outdoor air quality in relation to air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM), poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), black carbon (BC), metals and dioxins. The air quality impact increases when the quality of biofuel is not guaranteed by self-gathering, using recycled wood or mixing with waste materials. Incomplete combustion in small appliances can also compromise the potential reduction of climate forcing. Thus, the implementation of a parallel legislation to the growth of biofuel utilisation is clearly needed to regulate the type of stoves, improve their performances as well as the quality of biofuels.

The use of new generation renewable fuels in power plants for cogeneration is encouraged in western countries for the same climate purposes. Nevertheless, local population worried for their potential environmental impact often opposes these plants. Emissions and air quality impact of biomass fired power plants depend on their proper management and on type and quality of fuel, whose origin can also determine their overall true climate change impact. A reliable knowledge of the emission and impact is essential for their social acceptability.

List of topics included in this special session:

  • Contribution of anthropogenic biomass burning to air quality, with particular reference to PM, PAHs, VOCs, BC, metals and dioxins.
  • Source apportionment studies, tracers identification and evaluation.
  • Impact of biomass burning for domestic heating in urban/suburban areas in different European climatic regions
  • Emission factors of new and old wood burning technologies in relation to: different pollutants, stoves/devices operating mode, fuel type and quality, atmospheric conditions,...).
  • Characterisation of the condensable fraction of emissions.
  • Emission inventories and activity indicators estimates (biomass diffusion, burning devices renewal rates,...).
  • Model development and analyses of biomass burning air quality impact from micro to regional scale.
  • Scenario analyses, future trends projection and monitoring studies on measures impact.
  • Potential effect of BATs applied to domestic and industrial biofuel combustion in comparison with cleaner technologies.
  • Health impact assessment of biomass fuel expansion 

This session will be organised in cooperation with international research/demonstration projects, e.g. AIRUSE LIFE+, EXPAH (Population Exposure to PAHs) LIFE+. The session is open to all contributions related to the above mentioned topics. All submitted abstracts will be peer reviewed according to the normal procedures of the conference and selected papers will be encouraged for a publication in an international scientific journal (e.g. ATMENV, ACP or AAQR…) referring to this AQ2016 special session.