Ash Content vs. the Economics of Using Wood Chips for Energy: Model Based on Data from Central Europe

Martin Lieskovský, Martin Jankovský, Marek Trenčiansky, Ján Merganič


Biomass utilization is vital for developing sustainability in the bioenergy sector. In this work the effects of high ash content on the heating properties of wood chips were evaluated. In an analysis of 450 wood chips samples, the ash content, moisture content, and gross calorific value were determined, and a generalized linear model was created to identify the relationship between the gross calorific value and the ash content of the wood chips. The mean ash content of the analyzed wood chips samples was 2.64%, the mean moisture content was 38.8%, and the mean gross calorific value was 19.43 MJ kg-1. Statistical analyses showed that 49% of the gross calorific value variability was due to the ash content variability. A one percent increase in ash content resulted in a 0.11 MJ kg-1 decrease of gross calorific value. The estimated costs of ash disposal at various ash contents were calculated. Burning wood chips with 5% ash content would lead to depositing an extra 5.6 megatons in the US or 21.2 megatons in the EU, compared to burning wood chips with 2.5% ash content.


Ash content; Wood chips; Gross calorific value; Bioenergy

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022,; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, URLs:; ISSN: 1930-2126