High-temperature CO / HC gas sensors to optimize firewood combustion in low-power fireplaces
Abstract. In order to optimize firewood combustion in low-power firewood-fuelled fireplaces, a novel combustion airstream control concept based on the signals of in situ sensors for combustion temperature, residual oxygen concentration and residual un-combusted or partly combusted pyrolysis gas components (CO and HC) has been introduced. A comparison of firing experiments with hand-driven and automated airstream-controlled furnaces of the same type showed that the average CO emissions in the high-temperature phase of the batch combustion can be reduced by about 80 % with the new control concept. Further, the performance of different types of high-temperature CO / HC sensors (mixed-potential and metal oxide types), with reference to simultaneous exhaust gas analysis by a high-temperature FTIR analysis system, was investigated over 20 batch firing experiments (∼ 80 h). The distinctive sensing behaviour with respect to the characteristically varying flue gas composition over a batch firing process is discussed. The calculation of the Pearson correlation coefficients reveals that mixed-potential sensor signals correlate more with CO and CH4; however, different metal oxide sensitive layers correlate with different gas species: 1 % Pt / SnO2 designates the presence of CO and 2 % ZnO / SnO2 designates the presence of hydrocarbons. In the case of a TGS823 sensor element, there was no specific correlation with one of the flue gas components observed. The stability of the sensor signals was evaluated through repeated exposure to mixtures of CO, N2 and synthetic air after certain numbers of firing experiments and exhibited diverse long-term signal instabilities.