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Journal article

Volatile organic emissions from the distillation and pyrolysis of vegetation

Greenberg J, Friedli H, Guenther A, Hanson D, Harley P, Karl T...(+6 more)

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, vol. 5, issue 5 (2005) pp. 9097-9126

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Leaf and woody plant tissue (Pinus ponderosa, Eucalyptus saligna, Quercus gambelli, Saccharum offici- narum and Oriza sativa) were heated from 30 to 300C and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions were iden- tified and quantified. Major VOC emissions were mostly oxygenated and included acetic acid, furylaldehyde, acetol, pyrazine, terpenes, 2,3-butadione, phenol and methanol, as well as smaller emissions of furan, acetone, acetaldehyde, acetonitrile and benzaldehyde. Total VOC emissions from distillation and pyrolysis were on the order of 10 gC/kgC dry weight of vegetation, as much as 33% and 44% of CO2 emis- sions (gC(VOC)/gC(CO2)) measured during the same exper- iments, in air and nitrogen atmospheres, respectively. The emissions are similar in identity and quantity to those from smoldering combustion of woody tissue and of differ- ent character than those evolved during flaming combustion. VOC emissions from the distillation of pools and endother- mic pyrolysis under low turbulence conditions may produce flammable concentrations near leaves and may facilitate the propagation of wildfires. VOC emissions from charcoal pro- duction are also related to distillation and pyrolysis; the emis- sions of the highly reactive VOCs from production are as large as the carbon monoxide emissions. 1 Introduction Combustion of vegetation occurs in se

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