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Ventilation of Carbon Monoxide from a Biomass Pellet Storage Tank - A Study of the Effects of Variation of Temperature and Cross-Ventilation on the Efficiency of Natural Ventilation

Emhofer W, Lichtenegger K, Haslinger W, Hofbauer H, Schmutzer-Roseneder I, Aigenbauer S, Lienhard M

Published 2015

Citation: Emhofer W, Lichtenegger K, Haslinger W, Hofbauer H, Schmutzer-Roseneder I, Aigenbauer S, et al. Ventilation of carbon monoxide from a biomass pellet storage tank - A study of the effects of variation of temperature and cross-ventilation on the efficiency of natural ventilation. Ann Occup Hyg. 2015;59(1):79-90.


Wood pellets have been reported to emit toxic gaseous emissions during transport and storage. Carbon monoxide (CO) emission, due to the high toxicity of the gas and the possibility of it being present at high levels, is the most imminent threat to be considered before entering a pellet storage facility. For small-scale (<30 tons storage capacity) residential pellet storage facilities, ventilation, preferably natural ventilation utilizing already existing openings, has become the most favored solution to overcome the problem of high CO concentrations. However, there is little knowledge on the ventilation rates that can be reached and thus on the effectiveness of such measures. The aim of the study was to investigate ventilation rates for a specific small-scale pellet storage system depending on characteristic temperature differences. Furthermore, the influence of the implementation of a chimney and the influence of cross-ventilation on the ventilation rates were investigated. The air exchange rates observed in the experiments ranged between close to zero and up to 8 m3h-1, depending largely on the existing temperature differences and the existence of cross-ventilation. The results demonstrate that implementing natural ventilation is a possible measure to enhance safety from CO emissions, but not one without limitations. © 2014 © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society.

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