Air Curtain Incinerator Testing to Eradicate Invasive Insects with Reduced Emissions


Montrose was contracted by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) to design a test program and test stack, provide project management and testing of an Air Curtain Incinerator (ACI) used to burn local trees infested with the emerald ash borer (EAB) – an invasive beetle that has decimated ash trees across the United States.

ACI units have the potential to change the way that forestry services combat the EAB. Current EAB strategy is to burn infested trees in open burn fires – which frequently involves moving the felled logs and risking new infestations.

The Montrose stack team partnered with Valley Environmental (the owners and operators of the ACI unit) assembled an experienced team of source testing experts to develop the sampling design including several ACI hood design modifications. The team also defined detection limits, logistics, fuel sampling and reporting units in close collaboration with ODEQ and Valley Environmental.


An ACI is a device that burns organic material in an insulated box while blowing jets of air over the flames to create a curtain. The ACI is portable and requires monitoring and constant loading, making a standard confined stack impossible, and in the case of this application – a specifically designed hood was needed to ensure the safety of the operator and to allow for continuous loading of wood material for optimal burn conditions.

One of the main purposes of this test was to compare the effectiveness of the ACI versus open burns, which produce more emissions and associated smoke clouds. Another goal is to generally quantify emissions factors for ACIs to simplify the permitting process in Oregon and pave the way for ACI to replace open burns.


The ACI was successfully designed, built and deployed, testing was completed, and valuable data collected to assist the ODEQ in their comparison testing against open burns. In addition to a successful test, the burn destroyed over 14 tons of EAB infested material.

Additional Information/Project Features

Media Coverage
Wood incinerator potential key to slowing spread of emerald ash borer
(Forest Grove News Times) Article

The emerald ash borer is attacking Oregon trees.  Here’s how the state is dealing with the invasive pest without compromising air quality
(KGW8 NBC affiliate)  Article & Video



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