The Sweet Smell of a Campfire

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If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to light wet firewood during a campout, you’re not alone! This photograph was taken during the pilot testing phase of a study aimed at understanding the effects of fuel moisture content on emissions from stoves. I spent many hours burning wet wood and comparing it to dry wood to see if they emitted different levels of pollutants.  Moisture in fuel lowers the temperatures produced during burning, and reduced efficiency and smoldering create more pollution than dry wood does when it burns. This suggests that it might be advantageous (and less frustrating) for wood-burning homes to dry their fuel completely before burning. This could also reduce levels of harmful pollutants for themselves and the environment – it’s a win-win!

  • Date January 2017
  • Author L. van Zyl