Canadian Biomass Magazine

Report on spontaneous ignition in wood pellets

June 13, 2013
By Canadian Biomass

June 13, 2013, Boras, Sweden - The use of biomass pellets has increased over the past few years, along with the risk of the pellets spontaneously igniting and starting fires. SP Technical Research Institute published a report comparing different types of storage units that could help with the problem.

Several spontaneous ignition incidents due to increased production volumes and improper
storing of pellets have been reported and increased efforts concerning safety
and quality assurance are continuing to be a priority. SP's research project, "Large
Scale Utilization of Biopellets for Energy Applications – LUBA," aimed to
provide ways to estimate risks for self-heating from pellets stored in bulk

The report compared medium-scale tests of
pellets in bulk with a smaller screening test and also a micro calorimeter and
crossing point. Two types of pellets were compared – one more reactive than the

Kinetic parameters from the crossing point
and micro calorimeter tests was used as input data for Frank-Kamenetskii
calculations and compared with the medium-scale test results.

Results showed that ignition in medium-scale can be predicted by using results
from small-scale screening methods like isothermal calorimetry or crossing
point. The small-scale test methods show the same indications as medium-scale
when comparing reactive and less active pellet types.


The medium-scale tests were effective in separating the self-heating activity
of the two types of pellets investigated.

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