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Haze emissions from smouldering peat: the roles of inorganic content and bulk density

Author(s): Yuqi Hu, Wuquan Cui, Guillermo Rein
Year Published: 2020

Smouldering peat fires are reported across continents and their emissions result in regional haze crisis (large scale accumulation of smoke at low altitudes) and large carbon foot prints. Inorganic content (IC) and bulk density vary naturally in peatlands and are among the important parameters governing peat fires. However, their roles in fire emissions remain unknown. In this work, bench-scale burning of sphagnum peat conditioned to different values of IC and bulk densities were conducted in the laboratory environment. Mass loss rate, spread rate and transient emissions of 20 gas species and particles (PM10, PM2.5 and PM1) were simultaneously investigated. We found that peat with 50% moisture content can self-sustain smouldering propagation if IC is less than 40%, or its bulk density is lower than 287.5 kg m−3. Increasing IC or bulk density decreases peat mass loss rate and spread rate. High IC peat releases lower gas fluxes (especially for CH4 and NH3) throughout the experiment. In the ignition stage, increasing IC leads to an increase in particles with diameter between 1 and 2.5 μm; in the fire spread stage, IC has no influence on the particle fluxes. In contrast, increasing bulk density delays both gas and particle emission fluxes without altering the smoke composition significantly. The fundamental understanding of how soil properties affect peat wildfires facilitates the development of mitigation technologies against haze.

Citation: Hu, Yuqi; Cui, Wuquan; Rein, Guillermo. 2020. Haze emissions from smouldering peat: the roles of inorganic content and bulk density. Fire Safety Journal 113:102940. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.firesaf.2019.102940
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Soils, Fuels, Fuel Descriptions, Smoke & Air Quality, Smoke Emissions, Smoke Emissions and Inventory
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 21287
FRAMES RCS number: 60988
Record updated: Jun 2, 2020