Particulate emissions from residential wood combustion in Europe revised estimates and an evaluation
Journal article, 2015

Currently residential wood combustion (RWC) is increasing in Europe because of rising fossil fuel prices but also due to climate change mitigation policies. However, especially in small-scale applications, RWC may cause high emissions of particulate matter (PM). Recently we have developed a new high-resolution (7 x 7 km) anthropogenic carbonaceous aerosol emission inventory for Europe. The inventory indicated that about half of the total PM2.5 emission in Europe is carbonaceous aerosol and identified RWC as the largest organic aerosol source in Europe. The inventory was partly based on national reported PM emissions. Use of this organic aerosol inventory as input for two chemical transport models (CTMs), PMCAMx and EMEP MSC-W, revealed major underestimations of organic aerosol in winter time, especially for regions dominated by RWC. Interestingly, this was not universal but appeared to differ by country. In the present study we constructed a revised bottom-up emission inventory for RWC accounting for the semivolatile components of the emissions. The revised RWC emissions are higher than those in the previous inventory by a factor of 2-3 but with substantial inter-country variation. The new emission inventory served as input for the CTMs and a substantially improved agreement between measured and predicted organic aerosol was found. The revised RWC inven-tory improves the model-calculated organic aerosol significantly. Comparisons to Scandinavian source apportionment studies also indicate substantial improvements in the modelled wood-burning component of organic aerosol. This suggests that primary organic aerosol emission inventories need to be revised to include the semivolatile organic aerosol that is formed almost instantaneously due to dilution and cooling of the flue gas or exhaust. Since RWC is a key source of fine PM in Europe, a major revision of the emission estimates as proposed here is likely to influence source-receptor matrices and modelled source apportionment. Since usage of biofuels in small combustion units is a globally significant source, the findings presented here are also relevant for regions outside of Europe.


Hacd van der Gon

Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)

R. Bergstrom


University of Gothenburg

C. Fountoukis

Institute of Chemical Engineering and High Temperature Chemical Processes

C. Johansson

Environment and Health Administration

Stockholm University

S. N. Pandis

Institute of Chemical Engineering and High Temperature Chemical Processes

Universityof Patras

David Simpson

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Global Environmental Measurements and Modelling

A. J. H. Visschedijk

Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

1680-7316 (ISSN) 1680-7324 (eISSN)

Vol. 15 11 6503-6519

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


Basic sciences



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