Brennende Peletts (Foto: Pfeiffer)

Method Collection Particulate Matter

Methods for Measuring Emissions of Particulate Matter from Solid Biomass Combustion

The aim of this Method Collection it to support the funding programme with its individual projects aiming at emission reduction, to determine dust emissions under comparable, reproducible and generally accepted methods. Further, in the context of increasing European efforts the definition of standardised measuring methods shall be supported.

Common to all projects in this field is the need for emissions to be measured. In addition to the gaseous emissions, this applies in particular to fine dust emissions. In practice there are a series of different framework conditions for fine dust measurments which will have an influence on the result of the measurement and that may limit the comparability of the results (type tests, laboratory measurements, in-situ measurements, chimney sweeper measurements, etc.). The measurement devices used and the measurement procedures utilised do, in part, considerably differ from one another. The ongoing debate shows that it is not an easy task to measure dust particles correctly and assess their potential impact on the human body and the environmentissue (Mudgal & Turbé, 2009; Orthen et al., 2007; Rödelsperger et al., 2009; UBA, 2008; Wiedensohler et al., 2012).


Long before the first debates on how to convert the modern energy sector towards more renewable energies, wood was a widespread means of heatgeneration. At present, almost three quarters of all heat provided by renewable energy technologies is produced from solid biofuels (Musiol et al., 2012). Currently the dominant technology for renewable heat production from solid biofuels are small-scale wood furnaces. The combustion of wood and other biogenic solid fuels contribute to a very large extent to the renewable energy consumed in the domestic sector. The climate protection objectives pursued by the German government would certainly not be achievable without the combustion of wood in such appliances.

Current research, however, shows that the combustion of wood in small-scale furnaces causes significant emissions, most noticably fine dust (particulate matter) emissions, and is a considerable source of air pollution (Birmili et al., 2008; Hausmann, 2010; Struschka et al., 2008). Fine dust can have negative impacts as it is suspended in air due to its chemical/physical properties and can reach considerable concentrations. The exposure to fine dust components may increase the risk for respiratory tract diseases (Dockery et al., 1993).

Therefore, one of the objectives of the funding programme “Promoting projects to optimise biomass energy use” (short: “Biomass energy use”) is to solve the conflict between climate protection and/or greenhouse gas reduction on one hand and air quality management through the reduction of harmful emissions on the other. With recognition of the conflict between air quality management and a continued growth of the market for thermochemical biomass conversion technologies, the first approaches for emission reduction could be successfully implemented (Lenz et al., 2010). Within the funding programme, innovative approaches for the reduction of emissions are currently being developed and given special attention.

With the amendment of Germanies First Federal Immission Control Ordinance in 2010 (1. BImschV), the emissions requirements posed to small-scale wood furnaces became stricter. The investigation and implementation of newer and more precise measuring methods has continuously gained importance since then. Especially for the development of combustion technologies with extraordinarily low dust emissions the use of high resolution measuring techniques will become a priority. The well established but time-consuming gravimetric determination of dust concentrations may not always be sufficient for that purpose. The determination of dust concentrations over time, e.g. through counting of individual particles, has therefore gained attention. Different providers offer devices which seem to generate reliable values, but when compared with one another they actually have considerable deviations. In addition, insights gained in recent years show that especially aerosols from an incomplete combustion of solid biomass may change drasticaly, depending on the environmental conditions. Besides these rather academic/scientific challenges, the day-to-day dust measurements done in laboratories and in-situ feature their own challenges making a comparison between measured values from different projects difficult.


DBFZ: Torsten Schröder, Volker Lenz, Justus von Sonntag, Tobias Ulbricht, Christian Thiel, Michael Junold, Uwe Langbein, Sebastian Günther, Carsten Tilch Fraunhofer

IFF: Patric Heidecke, Helmar Tepper

Fraunhofer UMSICHT: Esther Stahl

Helmholtz-Zentrum München: Jürgen Orache

TFZ: Claudia Schön, Hans Hartmann, Alexander Marks

TUHH: Niels Woltersdorf, Sebastian Syrigos

Uni Göttingen: Torben Seide

Uni Leipzig: René Bindig

ZAE Bayern: Robert Kunde, Mamun Adeili, Florian Volz, Niels Horstmeier

Let´s contribute!

If  you  would  like  to  contribute  additional  methods  to  the "Collection of Methods for Particulate Matter" or  if  you  have  comments  and/or  suggestions  for  adjustments  regarding  the  current  edition,  please  contact: 

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Technical coordination:

Dr.-Ing. Volker Lenz
Telephone: +49 (0) 341-2434-450

Direct contact:

Christian Thiel
Telephone: +49 (0) 341-2434-732

German version