Publication | Peer reviewed papers | Potentiale, Bioenergiesysteme, Logistik

Applicability of Fuel Indexes for Small-Scale Biomass Combustion Technologies, Part 1: Slag Formation

Published 2019

Citation: Feldmeier S, Wopienka E, Schwarz M, Schön C, Pfeifer C. Applicability of Fuel Indexes for Small-Scale Biomass Combustion Technologies, Part 1: Slag Formation. Energy & Fuels. November 2019. 33:10969-10977.


Several methods are available to predict the combustion behavior of fuels. Fuel indexes have been developed either for specific fuel types (e.g., coal, biomass) or their utilization in combustion technology (fluidized bed, grate systems). This study deals with the validation of fuel indexes for biomass fuels utilized in small-scale appliances for residential heating. Laboratory analysis data of 33 biomass-derived fuels were used for determining indexes for predicting slag formation tendencies. Indexes were selected that have been reported and previously applied in the literature. They vary in terms of their derivation: ratio or concentration of specific components that are relevant for ash chemistry, temperature-based indexes, and empirical correlations. Combustion tests with 9 different small-scale appliances were conducted to gain experimental data. The appliances had a nominal load between 6 kWth and 140 kWth. After each experiment, the fraction of fuel ash that formed slag was quantified. Because of several boiler–fuel combinations in total, data from 90 combustion experiments were available for evaluation. The comparison of the quantified slag with the calculated slagging indexes showed that the applicability was strongly dependent on the (chemical) background of the respective index. Also, the fuel composition (e.g., fuels rich in calcium, silicon or phosphorus) plays an important role. Thus, available indexes are not applicable without restrictions and require a closer look on fuel properties and possible ash transformation mechanisms. Overall, the comparison of the fuel indexes with practical data (slag formation) also indicated an influence of the combustion technologies and operation conditions. The comparison of indexes that predict particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions with data measured during combustion experiments was evaluated as well. These results will be described in the second part of the present work.

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