Project objectives
  • Project objectives

Project objectives

The origins and quantification of both, off-gassing of CO and VOCs and self-heating and spontaneous ignition, are not fully clear yet and were the main research subject of the SafePellets project. Off-gassing of aldehydes has been shown to be a consequence of self-heating and of autoxidation of lipids naturally present in wood. Whether other mechanisms (adsorption of water vapours, pyrolysis products formed and resident heat from producing process) and to what extent these mechanisms contribute to self-heating and off-gassing needed to be answered as well.

The SafePellets-project therefore aimed to derive technical solutions to prevent from self-heating and spontaneous ignition of pellets stored in bulk, to provide technical solutions for fire protection, to prevent from off-gassing and to provide technical solutions to overcome the threat of formed CO and VOCs in storage systems. The overall findings were introduced into best practice guidelines for quality assurance measures along the whole wood pellets production and supply chain, which shall be the basis for a Europe wide unique standard for quality and safety measures of pellets supply to industrial and private customers.

The available product and quality assurance standards (CEN/TS 14961 and CEN/TS 15234) do not include sufficient safety considerations regarding prevention from self-heating and spontaneous ignition of bulk storages and from off-gassing of toxic emissions like carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs, e.g. aldehydes and low molecular carboxylic acids). A number of incidents due to spontaneous ignition of wood pellets and accidents due to CO intoxication have been reported. Therefore, both on the CEN (e.g. CEN/TC 335) as well as on the ISO (e.g. ISO/TC 238) level activities have sucessfully been launched to derive solutions to overcome these threats to industry and customers.

Based on the above generally described problems the objectives of SafePellets-project were:

I Market research
II Mechanisms and quantification of off-gassing and self-heating
III Risk assessment of self-heating and spontaneous ignition of biomass pellets during storage
IV Development of practical method for the characterization of the self- heating potential from wood pellets
V Technical and quality management measures to prevent from off-gassing and self-heating and spontaneous combustion and to safely handle formed off-gases and detected self-heating and prevent from fires and smouldering
VI Guidelines and recommendations for the production of “safe” pellets with low self-heating and off-gassing potential, as well as for safe transportation and storage of biomass pellets
VII Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for biomass pellets