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Mitigating combustion particulate emissions

Integrating plasma air ionization into biomass boiler flues.

Unmet Need

The introduction of policy drivers, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme in the UK will likely see the use of biomass fuels increase.

Consequently, there will be more particulate emissions from domestic heating appliances fuelled with biomass. Combustion particulates are a significant health hazard. They contain harmful substances, such as:

  • polychlorinated dibenzop-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDD/F)
  • polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)
  • alkali salts such as potassium carbonate.

Smaller biomass boilers can produce high emissions of particulate matter (PM) smaller than 10 microns (PM10, PM2.5). This is an important source of inhalable particulate matter in the ambient air.

Small scale particulate emission clean-up is too expensive to be viable. It has been demonstrated that particulate emissions (PM10, PM2.5) can cause serious health problems (higher morbidity; affection of lungs; shorter life expectancy, etc.).

The Technology

We have developed a novel plasma air ionization (PAI) technology. It can mitigate biomass combustion particulate emissions.


Compared to the current combustion particulate emission control technologies, the integration of a plasma air ionization (PAI) device with a biomass boiler for particulate emission mitigation has advantages such as:

  • low costs (low capital cost, low installation cost, low running cost, low maintenance cost)
  • low maintenance
  • consistent efficiency
  • quick and easy installation or retrofit.

It is a simple affordable alternative to other technologies.


  • domestic boiler
  • industrial boiler
  • central gas clean system
  • in general, any combustion process
  • possibly oil mist removal


Tim Blackburn: