Carbon Emissions

Hi there,

Could someone explain to me why fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, produce fewer particulate matter emissions than natural gas?

Also, how would you expect the combustion temperature of these fuels to affect particulate emissions? Would a higher temperature lead to a more complete combustion and therefore fewer particulates (which are formed by incomplete combustion)?

Thanks,
Dave

SteamKing
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Hi there,

Could someone explain to me why fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, produce fewer particulate matter emissions than natural gas?
IDK if this assertion is necessarily true. Can you provide a source? Combustion is a complex process, and various factors determine the amount of particulate matter emitted after burning various fuels.
Also, how would you expect the combustion temperature of these fuels to affect particulate emissions? Would a higher temperature lead to a more complete combustion and therefore fewer particulates (which are formed by incomplete combustion)?
Temperature is one variable. Obviously, if you burn a fuel with insufficient air or oxygen, combustion will be incomplete and particulate matter, composed of unburned carbon, will be produced.

Quantum Defect
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Hi there,

Could someone explain to me why fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, produce fewer particulate matter emissions than natural gas?

Also, how would you expect the combustion temperature of these fuels to affect particulate emissions? Would a higher temperature lead to a more complete combustion and therefore fewer particulates (which are formed by incomplete combustion)?

Thanks,
Dave
I think that you have this backwards. Coal combustion produces the most soot. Natural gas combustion is very clean.

This (combustion chemistry) is a very complicated topic. Soot is produced by "condensation" of some relatively stable carbon-containing radical species. Things like the propargyl radical are believed to play an important role. I don't think that you produce many of these radicals when you burn natural gas, as the fuel is primarily methane (one carbon).

A good place to start looking for material is the website for the U.S. Department of Energy's Combustion Research Facility -- a part of Sandia Natioanal Laboratories in Livermore, CA. There is a very nice graduate-level textbook on combustion by Glassman: "Combustion", Academic Press.