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Abstract

Wood pellets are classified as a solid biomass type. They are one of the most popular bio-heating fuels used in Europe, especially in the small heating sector, where pellets are burned in low-power domestic boilers. The pellets and automatic pellet-fired heating devices gained popularity due to the increasing air pollution (smog) problem and the low emission limiting campaigns associated with it. Wood pellets are formed as a result of small forestry particles mechanical compression (mainly conifers originated) and they are listed among renewable energy sources. The purpose of the presented studies was to compare the quality of wood pellets used for pellet-fired boilers and to identify, qualitatively and quantitatively, impurities marked in the samples obtained from the domestic market. The application of petrographic analyses, applied so far in relation to fossil fuels, is a presented work innovation for wood pellets. The microscopic analyses were performed on both certified (ENplus/DINplus) and uncertified wood pellets available on the market. Unfortunately, the analysis revealed that the quality requirements were not met, because of the unacceptable contamination presence. The unacceptable organic inclusions in the analyzed samples are fossil coals and their derivatives, coke, and polymeric materials of natural origin. Unacceptable inorganic inclusions determined in the analyzed samples were: glass, slag, rust, pieces of metal, stone powder, plastic, and polymeric materials of inorganic origin.
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