NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Control of workplace diesel exhaust particulate.

Armendariz-AJ; Farnoud-A
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, K01-OH-008182, 2008 Oct; :1-139
Diesel engines are the most efficient internal combustion engines. The exhaust from these engines, however, has been linked to occupational cancers in workers who spend significant amounts of time near diesel vehicles or diesel machinery. Methods developed so far to reduce exposures to the particulate matter (PM) found in diesel exhaust emissions have focused on the use of mechanical filters. Some of these systems have shown good performance in occupational applications, but even the most advanced mechanical filters have limitations. Many can create a backpressure which will cause increased fuel consumption. In addition, mechanical filters need to be regenerated periodically to reduce back pressure and prevent plugging, which can be a complex process. The primary objective of this study was to lower the incidence of occupational lung cancers through the development of a technique to reduce diesel particulate matter emissions into the workplace. This study focused on a novel electrostatic precipitation (ESP) technique to capture diesel particulate matter. Large-scale electrostatic precipitators have been widely used in heavy industry and utilities for more than a century, but they have not been successfully miniaturized for particulate removal from mobile sources or diesel powered machinery. Fundamental studies were performed in the laboratory to understand the important electrostatic properties of small-scale ESPs. A small-scale ESP was constructed and tested, and several modified versions were designed to optimize performance. Tests were performed using the exhaust generated by a stationary 5.5kW diesel-powered electric generator, using different fuel qualities and at different load conditions. The use of the small-scale ESP on the engine exhaust resulted in average reductions in particle mass emissions of approximately 80 percent at moderate levels of power consumption that never exceeded 65 watts. This project demonstrated the feasibility of using small-scale electrostatic precipitators to lower emissions of diesel PM. The commercial development of the prototype unit developed in this project will provide industrial hygienists and machinery vendors with another option to reduce the concentration of diesel PM in the workplace, thus lowering exposures and potentially reducing the incidence of occupational lung cancer.
Particulate-dust; Diesel-exhausts; Diesel-emissions; Dust-particles; Dust-inhalation; Fuels; Airborne-particles; Emission-sources; Carcinogens; Lung-irritants; Lung-cancer; Exposure-limits; Environmental-pollution; Climatic-effects; Breathing-atmospheres; Breathing-zone
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Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Southern Methodist University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division