Problem: The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) had not specified emissions performance standards for pellet burning stoves. Instead they were lumped in with cordwood burning stoves. IRETI’s decision to pursue this baseline study was guided by Minnesota’s concurrent “2025 Energy Action Plan” and the EPA’s pellet stove testing method development. Wood pellet fuel, a renewable resource, and the technology developed to utilize it for residential heating should be further studied to examine how together they both stand up to newly developed EPA emissions testing methods. This will establish a benchmark for testing American technology, thus guiding IRETI’s efforts of introducing foreign technology to help MN reach the goals set for MN2025.
Methods: Representatives from IRETI worked with several industry representatives and companies in the development of the research program. Commercially available “PFI Premium Standard” wood pellets were chosen as the test fuel. The pellet burning stove used in the study was provided by one of the companies. EPA Method-5G and 28 were followed when deciding which equipment and procedures we would use for our tests as well as the available data analysis calculations and reporting methods.
Conclusions: We were able to equip and develop the lab and produce standard operating procedures to complete the two-hour test burns which included collection and recording of all the data required by the EPA methods. Our process established consistent burn rates (2.04, 2.11, 2.15 kg/hr.), but the PM samples (4.83, 3.57, 2.44 g/hr) did not seem to follow that consistency. The PM emissions, higher than expected, measured at a weighted average of 4.64 g/hr, falling just outside of the EPA’s PM emissions guidelines of a weighted average of 4.5 g/hr. This opened the door to further study the intricacies of wood combustion and the operation of not only the pellet stove, but the effects of the fuel quality, equipment and sensor calibration, and the proper repeatable operation of the emissions equipment.
Date of Degree
Master of Science (MS)
Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology
Science, Engineering and Technology
Gamarra, S. (2019). Study of American wood pellet stove emissions [Master's thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/964/
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