In this study, olive cake (OC) was co-fired with coal in a circulating fluidized bed of 125 mm diameter and 1800 mm height. Olive cake is a waste from olive oil production. A lignite coal that is most widely used in Turkey (Tuncbilek lignite) was used together with OC and the combustion characteristics of olive cake (OC) + coal mixture were investigated. The combustion experiments were carried out with various excess air ratios. The excess air ratio, A, has been changed between 1.1 and 2.16. Temperature distribution along the bed was measured with thermocouples. On-line concentrations Of O-2, SO2, CO2, CO, NOx, and total hydrocarbons were measured in the flue gas. Various runs were conducted with each mixture of OC and lignite, namely 25, 50 and 75 wt% OC mixed with lignite. These mixtures were burned with various excess air ratios. Combustion efficiencies of olive cake and lignite coal mixtures are calculated, and the optimum conditions for operating parameters are discussed. There is a sharp decrease observed in the combustion losses due to hydrocarbons and CO as the excess air ratio increases. The minimum emissions are observed at about lambda = 1.5. The combustion efficiency for lignite coal changes between 82 and 98% for various excess air ratios used in the study. The results suggest that OC is good fuel that can be mixed with lignite coal for cleaner energy production in small-scale industries by using CFB. Less than 50 wt% OC concentration in the fuel mixture is suggested in order to be within the EU limits for emissions. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.