Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Aug 11;20(16):6559. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20166559.
Air pollution and the increasing production of greenhouse gases has prompted greater use of renewable energy sources; the EU has set a target that the use of green energy should be at 32 percent by 2030. With this in mind, in the last 10 years, the demand for pellets in Italy has more than doubled, making Italy the second largest consumer in Europe. The quality of the pellets burned in stoves is crucial to indoor and outdoor pollution. Among other parameters, moisture and ash are used to classify pellets according to EN ISO 17225:2014. This work involved the analysis of the organic and inorganic fraction of both some finished products on the Italian market and some raw materials (e.g., wood chips) sampled according to the technical standard EN 14778:2011. The analytical results showed the presence of some substances potentially harmful to human health such as formaldehyde, acetone, toluene and styrene for the organic fraction and nickel, lead and vanadium for the inorganic fraction. The chemometric approach showed that it is the inorganic fraction which is most responsible for the diversification of the samples under study. The detection of some substances may be a warning bell about the impact of such materials, both for the environment and for human health.