Influence of coal properties on the performance of fixed-bed coal-burning braziers

Tafadzwa Makonese, Daniel M. Masekameni, Harold J. Annegarn


Informal fixed-bed coal-burning braziers are used extensively in low-income communities of South Africa for space-heating and cooking needs. An investigation was carried out on the effects of coal moisture content and coal quality on the thermal and emissions performance of domestic coal-burning braziers in three field-procured braziers (with three different air ventilation rates), using the bottom-lit updraft (BLUD) and top-lit updraft (TLUD) ignition methods. Results showed that an increase in coal moisture content (from 2.4 wt.% to 8.6 wt.%) led to 18% and 30% decreases in fire-power when using the TLUD and BLUD methods, respectively. The combustion efficiency increased by 25% with an increase in moisture content. Measured carbon monoxide (CO) emission factors increased with an increase in moisture content, while carbon dioxide (CO2) emission factors remained unchanged. The use of A-grade coal resulted in a 49% increase in PM emissions compared with D-grade coal at high ventilation rates, despite no statistically significant differences (p > 0.05) in CO and CO2 emission factors produced between coal grades.


Coal, braziers, thermal performance, moisture content, fuel quality, emission factors

Full Text:



Balmer, M. 2007. Household coal use in an urban township in South Africa. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 18(3): 27–32.

Bhattacharya, S. C., Albina, D. O., Salam, P. A. 2002. Emission factors of wood and charcoal-fired cookstoves. Biomass and Bioenergy 23: 453–469.

Davis, M. 1998. Rural household energy consumption: The effects of access to electricity – evidence from South Africa. Energy Policy 26(3): 207–217.

El may, Y., Jeguirim, M., Dorge, S., Trouvé, G., Said, R. 2013. Experimental investigation on gaseous emissions from the combustion of date palm residues in laboratory scale furnace. Bioresource Technology 131: 94–100.

Engelbrecht, J. P., Swanepoel, L., Chow, J. C., Watson, J. G. and Egami, R. T. 2002. The comparison of source contributions from residential coal and low-smoke fuels using CMB modelling in South Africa. Environmental Science and Policy 5: 157–167.

Erdöl, N., Ҫalli, L., Okutan, H., Arisoy, A. and Ekinci, E. 1999. Effect of coal moisture on particulate emission in a fixed bed combustion appliance. Fuel Processing Technology 58: 109–117.

Ge, S., Xu, X., Chow, J. C., Watson, J., Sheng, Q., Liu, W., Bai, Z., Zhu, T. and Zhang, J. 2004. Emissions of air pollutants from household stoves: honeycomb coal versus coal cake. Environmental Science & Technology 38: 4612–4618.

Huangfu, Y., Li, H., Chen, X., Xue, C., Chen, C. and Liu, G. 2014. Effects of moisture content in fuel on thermal performance and emission of biomass semi-gasified cookstove. Energy for Sustainable Development 21: 60–65.

Jasinge, D., Ranjith, P. G.and Choi, S. K. 2011. Effects of effective stress changes on permeability of latrobe valley brown coal, Fuel 90(3): 1292–1300.

Jetter, J. J. and Kariher, P. 2009. Solid-fuel household cook stoves: Characterisation of performance and emissions. Biomass and Bioenergy 33: 294–305.

Kimemia, D. K., Annegarn, H. J., Robinson, J., Pemberton-Pigott, C. and Molapo, V. 2011. Optimising the imbaula stove. Proceedings of the Domestic Energy Use Conference, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa.

Kumar, A., Prasad, M. and Mishra, K. P. 2013. Comparative study of effect of different parameters on performance and emission of biomass cook stoves. International Journal of Research in Engineering & Technology 1(3): 121–126.

Le Roux, L. J., Zunckel, M. and McCormick, S. 2009. Reduction in air pollution using the ‘Basa njengo Magogo’ method and the applicability to low-smoke fuels. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 20(3): 3–10.

Madubansi, M. and Shackleton, C. M. 2006. Changing energy profiles and consumption patterns following electrification in five rural villages, South Africa. Energy Policy 34(18): 4081–4092.

Makonese, T. 2011. Protocols for thermal and emissions performance testing of domestic fuels and stoves. MSc thesis, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Makonese, T., Forbes P., Mudau L. and Annegarn H. J., (2014). Aerosol particle morphology of residential coal combustion smoke. The Clean Air Journal 24(2): 24–28.

Makonese, T., Masekameni, D., Forbes, P. and Annegarn, H. J. 2015. Influence of fire-ignition methods and air ventilation rates on gaseous and condensed matter (smoke) emissions from residential coal-burning braziers. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 26(4): 16–28.

Makonese, T., Masekameni, D., Annegarn, H. J. and Forbes, P. 2017 in press. Emission factors of domestic coal-burning braziers. South African Journal of Science.

Masekameni, D., Makonese, T. andAnnegarn, H. J. 2014. Optimisation of ventilation and ignition method for reducing emissions from coal-burning imbaulas. Proceedings of the Domestic Use of Energy Conference, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa: 1–7. doi: 10.1109/DUE.2014.6827755, 2014.

Mathee, A. 2004. Indoor air pollution in developing countries: Recommendations for research. Commentary on the paper by Professor K. R. Smith. South African Medical Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa. Available at:

McKendry, P. 2000. Energy production from biomass (part 3): Gasification technologies. Bioresource Technology 83(1): 55–63.

Mitchell, E. J. S., Lea-Langton, A. R., Jones, J. M., Williams, A., Layden, P. and Johnson, R. 2016. The impact of fuel properties on the emissions from the combustion of biomass and other solid fuels in a fixed bed domestic stove, Fuel Processing Technology 142: 115–123.

Penney, D., Benignus, V., Kephalopoulos, S., Kotzias, D., Kleinman, M. and Verrier, A. 2010. World Health Organization guidelines for indoor air quality: Selected pollutants. World Health Organisation: Geneva.

Prasad, K., Sangen, E., Sielken, M. and Visser, P. 1983. Test results on kerosene and other stoves. Woodburning Stove Group, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Rogge, W., Hildemann, L. M., Mazurek, M. A. and Cass G. R. 1998. Sources of fine organic aerosol. 9. Pine, oak and synthetic log combustion in residential fireplaces. Environmental Science & Technology 32: 13–22.

Scorgie, Y. 2012. Urban air quality management and planning in South Africa. PhD Thesis, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Scorgie, Y., Kneen, M. A., Annegarn, H. J. and Burger, L. W. 2003. Air pollution in the Vaal Triangle: Quantifying source contribution and identifying cost-effective solutions. The Clean Air Journal 13(2): 5–18.

Shahraiyni, H. T. and Sodoudi, S. 2016. Statistical modelling approaches for PM10 prediction in urban areas. A review of 21st-century studies. Atmospheres 7(15): 1–24. doi:10.3390/atmos7020015.

Shen, G. F., Yang, Y. F., Wang, W., Tao, S., Zhu, C., Min, Y., Xue, M., Ding, J., Wang, B., Wang, R., Shen, H., Li, W., Wang, X. and Russell, A. G. 2010. Emission factors of particulate matter and elemental carbon for crop residues and coals burned in typical household stoves in China. Environmental Science & Technology 44(18): 7157–7162.

Shen, G., Xue, M., Wei, S., Chen, Y., Zhao, Q., Li, B., Wu, H. and Tao, S. 2013. Influence of fuel moisture, charge size, feeding rate and ventilation conditions on the emissions of PM, OC, EC, parent PAHs, and their derivatives from residential wood combustion. Journal of Environmental Sciences 25(9): 1808–1816.

Simoneit, B. 2002. Biomass burning-a review of organic tracers for smoke from incomplete combustion. Applied Geochemistry 17(3): 129–162.

Standish, B., Leiman, A., Boting, A. and van Zyl, H. 2007. Reducing the health care costs of urban air pollution: The South African experience. Journal of Environmental Management 84: 27–37.

Taylor. R. P. 2009. The uses of laboratory testing of biomass cookstoves and the shortcomings of the dominant U.S. protocol. MSc Thesis, Iowa State University, Ames, USA.

Van Niekerk, W. C. A., Britton, M. T. S., Laurens, J. B. 1997. Laboratory technical tests–determination of emission factors. Department of Minerals and Energy, Pretoria, South Africa.

Wei, W., Zhang, W., Hu, D., Ou, L., Tong, Y., Shen, G., Shen, H. and Wang, X. 2012. Emissions of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from uncompressed and pelletized biomass fuel burning in typical household stoves in China. Atmospheric Environment 56: 136–42.

Zhang, J., Smith, K. R., Uma, R., Ma, Y., Kishore, V. V. N., Lata, K., Khalil, M. A. K., Rasmussen, R. A. and Thorneloe S. T. 1999. Carbon monoxide from cookstoves in developing countries: 1. Emission factors. Chemosphere: Global Change Science 1: 353–366.

Zhang, Y., Schauer, J. J., Zhang, Y., Zeng, L., Wei, Y., Liu, Y. and Shao, M. 2008. Characteristics of particulate carbon emissions from real-world Chinese coal combustion. Environmental Science & Technology 42: 5068–5073.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Masilu Daniel N/A Masekameni

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.