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Development of methodologies for the measurement of diesel exhaust emissions and diesel particulate matter

Project Status: 
Ongoing

The project seeks to find a suitable technique, or a combination of techniques, to measure the different compounds found in diesel engine emissions. These techniques will be tested for feasibility, accuracy and robustness under controlled conditions and under real-mining conditions.  Ultimately, researchers hope to contribute to reducing mine worker exposure to diesel particulate matter.

Diesel engine exhaust was classified as a Group 1 human carcinogen in 2012 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.  Diesel engine exhaust consists of a mixture of compounds in various forms such as gases, particulates and vapours.  Many known carcinogens are contained in the exhaust and the composition varies during the production thereof.  For this reason, it is challenging to control worker exposure to a specific compound.

In a recent study carried out by the CSIR, one of the biggest challenges was to find a suitable measuring tool to measure diesel engine exhaust.  A combination of measuring tools was used, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.  No one technique or measurement tool was proven to test all the components of diesel engine exhaust.

In countries such as the United States of America, Canada, the Netherlands and Australia, a lot of research has been conducted to measure, monitor and control diesel exhaust emissions and diesel particulate matter. South Africa can learn from the leading practices and international guidelines that are currently employed in these countries.

This project aims to evaluate current and new techniques available.  It focuses on finding a suitable technique, or a combination of techniques, to measure the different compounds found in diesel engine exhaust. Given the status of diesel-powered engines in the South African mining industry, these techniques will be tested for feasibility, accuracy and robustness under controlled conditions.  Finally, the methodology will be tested under real-mining conditions for suitability as part of a programme to reduce worker exposure to one of the diesel engine exhaust components that will be regulated, namely diesel particulate matter.

A set of guidelines and standard operating procedures will be the final outcome of this study to assist with the implementation of the methodologies in the South African mining industry.

Partners

Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (The Netherlands) University of Pretoria Sasol Fuel Testing Centre

Funding

Mine Health and Safety Council

Contact Person

Cecilia Pretorius

Key Concept

Diesel particulate matter
Diesel particulate matter is ultra-fine fractions from diesel engine exhausts emissions (smaller than one micron). It is a complex mixture of gases, vapours and particulates and can enter the gas exchange region of the lung.

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