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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Jun 2019

Research article | 17 Jun 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Gaseous, PM2.5 Mass, and Speciated Emission Factors from Laboratory Chamber Peat Combustion

John G. Watson1,2, Junji Cao2,3, L.W. Antony Chen4, Qiyuan Wang2, Jie Tian2,3, Xiaoliang Wang1, Steven Gronstal1, Steven Sai Hang Ho5, Adam C. Watts1, and Judith C. Chow1,2 John G. Watson et al.
  • 1Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada, USA
  • 2Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an, China
  • 3CAS Center for Excellence in Quaternary Science and Global Change, Xi’an, China
  • 4Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  • 5Hong Kong Premium Services and Research Laboratory, Hong Kong, China

Abstract. Peat fuels representing four biomes of boreal (western Russia and Siberia), temperate (northern Alaska, U.S.A.), subtropical (northern and southern Florida, U.S.A), and tropical (Borneo, Malaysia) regions were burned in a laboratory chamber to determine gas and particle emission factors (EFs). Tests with 25 % fuel moisture were conducted with predominant smoldering combustion conditions (average modified combustion efficiency [MCE] = 0.82 ± 0.08). Average fuel-based EFCO2 (carbon dioxide) are highest (1400 ± 38 g kg−1) and lowest (1073 ± 63 g kg−1) for the Alaskan and Russian peats, respectively. EFCO (carbon monoxide) and EFCH4 (methane) are ~12 %‒15 % and ~0.3 %‒0.9  % of EFCO2, in the range of 157‒171 g kg−1 and 3‒10 g kg−1, respectively. EFs for nitrogen species are at the same magnitude of EFCH4, with an average of 5.6 ± 4.8 and 4.7 ± 3.1 g kg−1 for EFNH3 (ammonia) and EFHCN (hydrogen cyanide); 1.9 ± 1.1 g kg−1 for EFNOx (nitrogen oxides); as well as 2.4 ± 1.4 and 2.0 ± 0.7 g kg−1 for EFNOy (reactive nitrogen) and EFN2O (nitrous oxide). An oxidation flow reactor (OFR) was used to simulate atmospheric aging times of ~2 and ~7 days to compare fresh (upstream) and aged (downstream) emissions. Filter-based EFPM2.5 varied by >4-fold (14‒61 g kg−1) without appreciable changes between fresh and aged emissions. The majority of EFPM2.5 consists of EFOC (organic carbon), with EFOC/EFPM2.5 ratios in the range of 52 %‒98 % for fresh emissions, and ~15 % degradation after aging. Reductions of EFOC (~7‒9 g kg−1) after aging are most apparent for boreal peats with the largest degradation in organic carbon that evolves at <140 °C, indicating the loss of high vapor pressure semi-volatile organic compounds upon aging. The highest EFLevoglucosan is found for Russian peat (~16 g kg−1), with ~35 %‒50 % degradation after aging. EFs for water-soluble OC (EFWSOC) accounts for ~20 %‒62 % of fresh EFOC. The majority (>95 %) of the total emitted carbon is in the gas phase with 54 %‒75 % CO2, followed by 8 %‒30 % CO. Nitrogen in the measured species explains 24 %‒52 % of the consumed fuel nitrogen with an average of 35 ± 11 %, consistent with past studies that report ~one- to two-thirds of the fuel nitrogen measured in biomass smoke. The majority (>99 %) of the total emitted nitrogen is in the gas phase, with an average of 16.7 % fuel N emitted as NH3 and 9.5 % of fuel N emitted as HCN. N2O and NOy constituted 5.7 % and 2.9 % of consumed fuel N. EFs from this study can be used to refine current emissions inventories.

John G. Watson et al.
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John G. Watson et al.
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Short summary
Although peat burning is a common global emission source, region specific emission factors are lacking. This work fills that gap for six peat-bearing regions. It is also shown through simulated aging with an oxidation flow reactor that potential aerosol mass changes during transport.
Although peat burning is a common global emission source, region specific emission factors are...