The Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal in Zabrze, having an accredited laboratory for solid fuel boilers, has measured the actual effects of the use of the top-down burning method on the emission of particulate matter and benzo (a) pyrene in the combustion of coal and wood. The study included 4 different boilers with manual fuel feed and one goat-type heater in which both coal and wood were burned.

The study has shown that the “top-down” burning method has unpredictable effects on the amount of pollutant emissions. Its use does not in any case translate into the reduction of pollutant emissions into the air. In many trials there were no significant decreases, and on the contrary, there was an increase in particulate matter and benzo (a) pyrene emissions, both for coal and wood.

In none of the trials conducted, no pollutant emissions comparable to the emission criteria for Class 5 or Ecodesign and even Class 3 were obtained. The best result was obtained for a boiler that was specifically designed for use in top burning – 127.9 mg / m³ for coal and 104.6 mg / m³ for wood. In the case of the “top-down” burning method in conventional boilers, the measured particulate matter emission was from 297.3 to 547.0 mg / m³ for coal burning and from 181.8 to 396.0 mg / m³ for wood burning. The standard for boilers meeting ecodesign requirements is 40 mg / m³.

Using the “top-down” burning method in boilers that are not designed for this purpose can significantly increase the risk of boiler explosion, chipping or faster wear of the device. The study has shown that it can significantly increase the heat load of the combustion chamber, change the temperature and pressure distribution in relation to design values, and lead to rapid combustion reactions (explosive combustion).  Each user purchasing a heating device should operate the device according to the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Other use can pose a danger to the health and life of the user and cause the failure or loss of the warranty granted for the boiler.

The study was commissioned by the Krakow Smog Alert within the implementation of the integrated project LIFE-IP MALOPOLSKA co-financed by the LIFE program of the European Union.

Short report on the IChPW research

Presentation of the report


Below, there are also the tests carried out by the City Office of Gliwice carried out with the use of particulate matter analyzer and the traditional “top-down” burning method of a boiler used in a household’s boiler room: