Environmental Pollution ( IF 6.792 ) Pub Date : 2021-02-17 , DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.116766 Jacek Grabowski; Adam Smoliński
Air pollution constitutes the greatest environmental threat to human health in the European Union. In Poland, the emission of particulate matter and harmful gases originating from local coal based boiler plants and the combustion of fuels in residential heating appliances is a considerable source of air pollution. The combustion of fuel in home furnaces is inefficient due to the use of cheap fuels of low heating parameters and the frequent addition of waste. For the purpose of the research, deciduous tree wood pellets were selected as the basic fuel with the admixture of plastic waste, rubber, waste paper, wood residues, diapers, textile waste, multi-material packaging, construction waste, biomass and alternative fuel (RDF). Examining ash samples to confirm the practices of combusting or co-combusting waste materials in heating appliances is considered to be one of the most reliable detection methods; however, the results of direct research require further data processing. The application of hierarchical clustering analysis to the obtained results arranged into a matrix enabled in a simple way to demonstrate the similarities between the examined samples of fuel and the samples of fuel mixed with waste materials in the parameters space as well as to analyze the similarities among the measured parameters (the content of particular elements in ash) in the space of the examined samples. The application of chemometric methods for the purpose of identifying the combusted fuels, and, in particular the co-combusted waste complements the currently used monitoring tools which control the use of low quality fuels or the combustion of waste of different origin.