What happens when wood burns

Combustion, which is simply the burning of something, is a rather complex chemical process. We rely quite heavily on combustion technologies for energy. For example, we burn gasoline to power our cars; we often burn oil or gas in home heating systems; and power plants usually burn coal, oil or natural gas to generate electricity. Many families, particularly in the developing world, burn wood and other biomass to cook food and heat their homes. However, burning wood and other solid fuels produces a lot of smoke, which is harmful to health and the environment. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that approximately 4 million people die every year from diseases related to smoke inhalation from burning wood and other solid fuels in their homes for cooking and heating. Many of these deaths are young children. Why does burning wood create so much pollution? The short answer is incomplete combustion.

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Runtime: 1:26

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