Biomass pellets help lower mercury emissions

A study by Chinese researchers has revealed that mercury emissions released from burning biomass is significantly reduced when in densified pellet form compared to raw biomass.

In 2010 it was reported that biomass- and coal-fired power plants, along with other activities such as gold mining, emitted 2,000 tonnes of mercury worldwide.

Mercury has been linked to various health problems, especially in children, In China, biomass contributes to nearly one third of the energy used in the nation's rural areas.

The study, published in the ACS journal 'Energy and Fuels', concluded that mercury levels varied greatly depending on the type of biomass used. High mercury emissions were found when raw wood such as Chinaberry and Chinese pine were burned. Pellets, however, made from cornstalks and pinewood released much lower levels of mercury.

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