# Which is more polluting... A car or a wood stove?

Posted By FyreBug, Jan 26, 2011 at 1:14 AM

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## Which do you think is more polluting (Co2) a car or a wood stove?

82.7%

17.3%

0 vote(s)
0.0%
1. #26

### FyreBug Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Oct 6, 2010
771
145
Loc:
Kitchener, Ontario
Well then... Just trust me!

BTW, i can provide the simplified version for \$19.95 just PM me your visa #

2. #27

### Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

May 20, 2008
6,587
1,421
Loc:
S.NH- Mass's smoking section
You breathe out about a kg of CO2 a day. A car produces 8.8 kg of CO2 per gallon burned.

3. #28

### begreen Mooderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Nov 18, 2005
61,602
7,877
Loc:
South Puget Sound, WA
Yep, that's 19.4 pounds! You can see why saving 10 or 20 mpg over 100,000 miles = a big number. At 25mpg, (4000gal) = 77,600 lbs CO2. At 40mpg (2500gal) = 48,500 lbs CO2. A 29,100 lbs difference. Multiply that difference times the ~255 million cars on just American roads and you get a 7,420,500,000,000 lbs reduction. Not a small number at all. And this does not include trucks which is another area where we can achieve fantastic differences with today's technology and by beefing up our rail networks to carry more freight.

We can't stop people from breathing, but we certainly have the technology right now to make a very serious dent in our CO2 output. Doing so also reduces our dependence on foreign oil. It's a win-win situation.

4. #29

### BrowningBAR Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Jul 22, 2008
7,607
1,106
Loc:
Doylestown, PA
Source: Emissions in Grams/hour or day
Cigarette .4 grams/hour (0.8 grams/pack)
Gas or Propane Furnace .001 grams/hour ( 0.024 grams/day)
Oil furnace .02 grams/hour (0.48 grams/day)
Pellet Stove 2.4 grams/hour ( 56.6 grams/day)
Single Simulated Log 8 grams/hour
Certified Wood Stove 8.2 grams/hour (196.8 grams/day)
Non-certified wood stove 15.6 grams/hour
Fireplace-hardwood: 30 grams/hour
(36 lbs. or 16 kg burned over 3 hours.)
Fireplace-softwood: 59 grams/hour.
(31 lbs.or 14kg burned over 3 hours.)
Auto-with Catalytic Converter .66 grams/hour
Auto-without Catalytic Converter 3.5 grams/hour
Auto-smoking 6 grams/hour
Diesel 14 ton Truck or Bus >1994 36 grams/hour
Diesel Truck or Bus < 1993 70 grams/hour

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5. #30

### begreen Mooderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Nov 18, 2005
61,602
7,877
Loc:
South Puget Sound, WA
Very interesting graph. That would be fine particulate emissions, not CO2. Still it's an interesting comparison illustrating where we need to work first on air cleanup, fireplaces included. If they put ocean going boats on this chart, like some that call locally on the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, the particle emissions from bunker fuel would be way off of this chart.

PS: certified wood stove is listed at the top of the range. 2-4gms/hr is more typical.

6. #31

### Delta-T Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Feb 27, 2008
3,144
579
Loc:
NH
seems the way to go is to use condensed wood gas as a fuel for our cars....need to find something without fuel injection prolly for a retro fit.

and just because something is natural doesn't mean its not a pollutant. anything, well, most things, in excess can be dangerous.....even water.. hydro-toxicity.

7. #32

### BrowningBAR Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Jul 22, 2008
7,607
1,106
Loc:
Doylestown, PA

There are a few things that the graph does not take into account. For instance; extraction and transportation pollution, which you would think would be quite a bit more for some of the fuels listed.

8. #33

### darkbyrd New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Jan 25, 2011
35
0
Loc:
Pisgah Nat'l Forest, NC
If we're talking about CO2, wood-burning appliances are carbon neutral, tree growing absorbing CO2, yadda yadda yadda. Stove wins. Particulates a different story depending on stove, fuel, methods, more yaddas. Car wins (probably). Extra helping? Chili, hands down.

But if we really want to get into it, you need to look at production and transport of the firewood. I make all my own stove wood, and between the saws, splitter, and tractor, I'm at the gas station once a week. And that fuel is not carbon-neutral.

2-man saw and a maul, now we're talking!

EDIT: B-BAR beat me to the 'extraction and transportation' part

9. #34

### Jutt77 Feeling the Heat 2. ```NULL ```

Dec 18, 2010
371
19
Loc:
Good stuff. This doesn't even account for CO2 emissions from the production and distribution of gas does it?

10. #35

### henkmeuzelaar New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 26, 2010
209
1
Loc:
Targhee NF, ID

I know this is all in good fun. Moreover, like most forum members, I do not consider burning harvested deadwood (or livewood replaced by new seedlings) as adding net CO2 to the atmosphere. Therefore, my only comment about FyreBug's calculations is that complete combustion of wood (at 20% moisture content) is going to produce roughly 10 times the amount of CO2 stated. Probably just a decimal point.....but who cares??

However, particulate matter emissions are threatening to become a much, much bigger issue. At the rate PM regulations are expanding worldwide (spurred by secondhand tobacco smoke and urban traffic PM health effect findings) most of us may well see a time that our children or grandchildren will no longer be able to sit around a campfire at school, scout or other youth camps because the organizers don't want to be liable.... Sorry, just realized I am going off topic.

To stay on topic: the proposed new EPA regulations still appear to allow approx. 10 times higher particulate matter emissions from stoves burning wood than from car engines running on a comparable amount (energy-wise) on diesel fuel. Although this may not sound too bad, one has to take into consideration that, in contrast with tobacco smoke and traffic-dominated urban PM, there are few if any reliable studies directly tying population-wide health effects to wood smoke (not talking about people with allergies or other uncommon predisposing conditions here).

I have researched pyrolysis/combustion processes as well as pollutant/health issues intensively for more than three decades and strongly favor a pro-active government role in protecting community health. However, what is urgently needed here are some relatively simple studies that can show whether it makes any sense to lump wood smoke in with the tobacco smoke and/or urban traffic PM threats. Oops, going OT again.......

Will try to bring some of this up in a separate thread, at some point.

Henk

11. #36

### littlesmokey Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Does anyone else have a problem the figures? Who did the testing on what machines? Based on what it says, most of the data doesn't meet EPA standards, especially the stoves, right???

12. #37

### remkel Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Jan 21, 2010
1,459
199
Loc:
Southwest NH
I am voting for a coal fired car without scrubbers.

13. #38

### phatfarmerbob New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Jan 10, 2011
109
0
Loc:
hudson valley ny
like i said .. electric cars ie: the volt , and the new nissan leaf, are pretty much coal fired i mean if you burn the coal to make the electricty isnt that like having a coal fired car? just playing devils advocate.

14. #39

### Hanko Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Feb 26, 2008
795
10
Loc:
livingstion co, Michigan
who cares

15. #40

### henkmeuzelaar New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 26, 2010
209
1
Loc:
Targhee NF, ID
If you are referring to roughly estimating the CO2 yields per unit weight of wood, one does not need much testing since the chemistry is fairly straightforward as long as we are talking complete combustion: e.g. using a catalytic or thermal afterburner stove.

The literature says that wood contains approximately 50% carbon, on average. So, FyreBug's 28.12 kg of wood contains approximately 14 kg of carbon.

When carbon (atomic weight 12) reacts with two atoms of oxygen (atomic weight 16 each) the resulting CO2 molecule has a molecular weight of 44.
In other words, 1 kg of carbon produces 44/12 (3.667) kg of CO2 and 14 kg of carbon produces 14 x 3.666 = 51.333 kg of CO2.

Because there are always small carbon losses to other combustion products (creosote, soot, VOCs, CO), it seemed that FyreBug's CO2 weight (4.22 kg) could perhaps be off by a factor 10.

Henk

16. #41

### Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Feb 14, 2007
27,815
7,367
Loc:
Michigan
It matters not to me which is more polluting. I occasionally have to drive the car and I heat with wood and will continue to do so, albeit in a very efficient stove.

17. #42

### littlesmokey Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

GIVE US THE DAMN RECIPE, so we call all polute equally. :coolgrin:

18. #43

### jensent Member 2. ```NULL ```

Apr 22, 2010
158
13
Loc:
central Ill
Off topic but here are figures for various home heating fuels from The Forestry commission in GB.

Kg CO2 per KWH
Wood logs,chips pellets 0.025 (modern EPA stove or not!)
Coal 0.291
Natural gas 0.194
Oil 0.265
Thanks,
Tom

19. #44

### littlesmokey Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

O(K, so my British English is a little weak, and i speak American English, But the graph means Greek to me.

20. #45

### jensent Member 2. ```NULL ```

Apr 22, 2010
158
13
Loc:
central Ill

What the figures say is that coal,oil,and natural gas heat produce ten times the CO2 per given unit of heat as burning logs, chips or pellets.

21. #46

### henkmeuzelaar New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 26, 2010
209
1
Loc:
Targhee NF, ID
These British values for CO2 production from wood are meant to report carbon footprint data and already incorporate a more than 90% offset for renewable carbon fuels. The reason they don't totally offset wood as "carbon neutral" is that wood decomposition is a slow process, so that burning dead wood may lead to a temprary acceleration of CO2 released to the atmosphere. Moreover, some of the live wood might not have been replaced by new seedlings.

When using one of the straight CO2 calculators on the web, you will find approx. 1.7 kg of CO2 produced per kg of wood and 2.5 kg or more CO2 per kg of coal.

Henk

22. #47

### Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

May 20, 2008
6,587
1,421
Loc:
S.NH- Mass's smoking section
Not a lot of people are processing wood without the aid of fossil fuels in saws, trucks, etc

23. #48

### begreen Mooderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Nov 18, 2005
61,602
7,877
Loc:
South Puget Sound, WA
True indeed. There's no free lunch. And don't forget the post processing pollution. Beer can be a mighty source of methane for some folk.

24. #49

### Texas Fireframe New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Hi! Do you have a link for this graph you posted? Just curious what the source is.

Is trailnotes your website? Great idea.

25. #50

### BrowningBAR Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Jul 22, 2008
7,607
1,106
Loc:
Doylestown, PA

I do have a source for that info... somewhere. I'll try to find it again. And yes, TrailNote is my (and my business partner) website. I'm glad you like. Just trying to keep people safe.