For the purposes of energy production, materials, which consist exclusively of organic matter (high heating value), are combusted in heating and power plants and in energy-intensive industries. On the one hand, these materials are products from renewable resources like paper, board, or wood (biomass), on the other hand they consist of combustible synthetics, which are primarily attained by polymerization, e.g. polyethylene or poly-propylene and long-chained hydrocarbons.
In general, both sorts of combustible materials are used in the heating and power plants. Hence, these materials are a mixture of bio-mass and synthetics. To classify the used combustible material it is important to determine the respective mass fractions of both of the material groups.
The determination of the 14C content in the carbon of the combustion material is a sophisticated method for the determination of the renewable fraction (radiocarbon dating).
The characteristic 14C content of the carbon in both categories allows the direct determination of the fraction of biomass in a mixed sample, considering the mean carbon content of both, biomass and synthetics
In addition, the determination of the isotope ratio 13C/12C (= δ13C value) of the combustion material allows the verification if the carbon is exclusively of organic origin or if there is an admixture of inorganic carbon (carbonate).