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Chamber studies on nonvented decorative fireplaces using liquid or gelled ethanol fuel

: Schripp, T.; Salthammer, T.; Wientzek, S.; Wensing, M.


Environmental science and technology 48 (2014), Nr.6, S.3583-3590
ISSN: 0013-936X
EISSN: 1520-5851
Fraunhofer WKI ()

Decorative ethanol fireplaces are becoming more and more commonly used in many different countries. These fireplaces are constructed such that they have no fume extraction system, and so all of the gases from combustion, volatile organic compounds, and particulate emissions are released into the room. In order to determine the release behavior and the chemical composition of the emissions, a variety of combinations of ethanol fireplaces and fuels were examined in a 48 m3 emission test chamber under typical living room environmental conditions. Four ethanol fireplaces with 8 different fuels (3 liquid samples, 5 gel-type samples) were tested. The ventilation conditions were set up corresponding to the manufacturers' recommendations and DIN 4734-1. The air concentrations in the chamber were evaluated based on guideline values for indoor air. Of the combustion gases examined, the quantity of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in particular were close to or even above the guideline values in many cases. A release of components of the fuel (e.g., the denaturing substances) was also detected in the chamber air. In two experiments, a benzene concentration of over 12 ppb and an increased formaldehyde concentration (>0.1 ppm) were identified in the chamber air. The ethanol fireplaces were - irrespective of the type of fuel used - strong sources of fine and ultrafine particles. Overall, ethanol fireplaces have a considerable influence on the quality of the indoor air due to the lack of ventilation. This aspect should - in addition to fire protection - be properly considered when using such devices.