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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jul 15;42(14):5068-73.

Characteristics of particulate carbon emissions from real-world Chinese coal combustion.

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State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.


Particulate matter emissions from a series of different Chinese coal combustion systems were collected and analyzed for elemental and organic carbon (EC, OC), and molecular markers. Emissions from both industrial boilers and residential stoves were investigated. The coal used in this study included anthracite, bituminite, and brown coal, as well as commonly used coal briquettes produced in China for residential coal combustion. Results show significant differences in the contribution of carbonaceous species to particulate mass emissions. Industrial boilers had much higher burn out of carbon yielding particulate matter emissions with much lower levels of OC, EC, and speciated organic compounds, while residential stoves had significantly higher emissions of carbonaceous particulate matter with emission rates of approximately 100 times higher than that of industrial boilers. Quantified organic compounds emitted from industrial boilers were dominated by oxygenated compounds, of which 46-68% were organic acids, whereas the dominate species quantified in the emissions from residential stoves were PAHs (38%) and n-alkanes (20%). An important observation was the fact that emission factors of PAHs and the distribution of hopanoids were different among the emissions from industrial and residential coal combustion even using the same coal for combustion. Although particulate matter emissions from industrial and residential combustion were different in many regards, picene was detected in all samples with detectable OC mass concentrations, which supports the use of this organic tracer for OC from all types of coal combustion. 17alpha(H),21beta(H)-29-norhopane was the predominant hopanoid in coal combustion emissions, which is different from mobile source emissions and may be used to distinguish emissions from these different fossil fuel sources.

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