Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 4769-4780, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-4769-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
12 Apr 2017
Emission factors and light absorption properties of brown carbon from household coal combustion in China
Jianzhong Sun1,2,5, Guorui Zhi2, Regina Hitzenberger4, Yingjun Chen1,3, Chongguo Tian1, Yayun Zhang2,6, Yanli Feng7, Miaomiao Cheng2, Yuzhe Zhang2,6, Jing Cai8, Feng Chen7, Yiqin Qiu7, Zhiming Jiang7, Jun Li8, Gan Zhang8, and Yangzhi Mo8 1Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai 264003, China
2State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
3State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, Key Laboratory of Cities' Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
4University of Vienna, Faculty of Physics, Boltzmanngasse 5, 1090 Vienna, Austria
5University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China
6College of Chemical Engineering, China University of Petroleum, Beijing 102249, China
7Institute of Environmental Pollution and Health, School of Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China
8State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China
Abstract. Brown carbon (BrC) draws increasing attention due to its effects on climate and other environmental factors. In China, household coal burned for heating and cooking purposes releases huge amounts of carbonaceous particles every year; however, BrC emissions have rarely been estimated in a persuasive manner due to the unavailable emission characteristics. Here, seven coals jointly covering geological maturity from low to high were burned in four typical stoves as both chunk and briquette styles. The optical integrating sphere (IS) method was applied to measure the emission factors (EFs) of BrC and black carbon (BC) via an iterative process using the different spectral dependence of light absorption for BrC and BC and using humic acid sodium salt (HASS) and carbon black (CarB) as reference materials. The following results have been found: (i) the average EFs of BrC for anthracite coal chunks and briquettes are 1.08 ± 0.80 and 1.52 ± 0.16 g kg−1, respectively, and those for bituminous coal chunks and briquettes are 8.59 ± 2.70 and 4.01 ± 2.19 g kg−1, respectively, reflecting a more significant decline in BrC EFs for bituminous coals than for anthracites due to briquetting. (ii) The BrC EF peaks at the middle of coal's geological maturity, displaying a bell-shaped curve between EF and volatile matter (Vdaf). (iii) The calculated BrC emissions from China's residential coal burning amounted to 592 Gg (1 Gg  =  109 g) in 2013, which is nearly half of China's total BC emissions. (iv) The absorption Ångström exponents (AAEs) of all coal briquettes are higher than those of coal chunks, indicating that the measure of coal briquetting increases the BrC ∕ BC emission ratio and thus offsets some of the climate cooling effect of briquetting. (v) In the scenario of current household coal burning in China, solar light absorption by BrC (350–850 nm in this study) accounts for more than a quarter (0.265) of the total absorption. This implies the significance of BrC to climate modeling.

Citation: Sun, J., Zhi, G., Hitzenberger, R., Chen, Y., Tian, C., Zhang, Y., Feng, Y., Cheng, M., Zhang, Y., Cai, J., Chen, F., Qiu, Y., Jiang, Z., Li, J., Zhang, G., and Mo, Y.: Emission factors and light absorption properties of brown carbon from household coal combustion in China, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 4769-4780, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-4769-2017, 2017.
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This paper investigates the emission factors and the light absorption properties of brown carbon (BrC) from China’s household coal burning. Seven coals of various ranks were burned in four typical stoves as both chunk and briquette styles. The optical integrating sphere (IS) method was employed to quantify BrC and black carbon (BC). We conclude that, in the scenario of current household coal burning in China, solar light absorption by BrC accounts for 26.5 % of the total absorption.
This paper investigates the emission factors and the light absorption properties of brown carbon...
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