Particles matters - more than previously known

Particle emissions matters – this is the message from recently released research by Maria Anderson at Chalmers University of Technology. Her results indicate that new fuels should not only be judge by its NOX (nitrogen oxides) or CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions – but also by particle emissions.

Particle emissions impact on human health and can cause diseases such as asthma, heart- and lung diseases and cancer. It also has negative impacts on climate due to scattering and absorption.

– If I can give one message, it is this: particle emissions matters, said Maria Anderson.

Several types of fuels have been tested by Maria Anderson and her supervisors Adjunct Professor Erik Fridell and Dr. Kent Salo. The research has implications like that the use of LNG (liquefied natural gas) as a marine fuel will reduce the total amount of particles that negatively impacts the environment, and emissions such as NOX and CO2. However, nanoparticles (diameter below 50 nanometer) can still be found. The research therefore indicates that alternative fuels might have negative effects on its surroundings that previously been almost unknown.

- Attention should not only be given to NOX or CO2 emissions, particle emissions should also be considered in any future regulations, said Maria Anderson.

Anderson found that sulphur content and fuel quality were important for increasing or decreasing particle emissions; less amount of particles both in number and mass were found if the sulphur content was low and the quality of the fuel was high.

The study further implies that due to the slow speed and low loads in the harbour, ships are sending out more particle emissions nearby land, rather than out on the ocean. The slow speed and low loads make the engine in the ship colder, which results in the formation of new particles.

- This means that when particle emissions appear the most, it also has the worst effects, said Maria Anderson.

Maria will continue her research and publish her dissertation in the years to come.