Evaluation of thermal optical analysis method of elemental carbon for marine fuel exhaust

Maija K. Lappi, Jyrki M. Ristimäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The awareness of black carbon (BC) as the second largest anthropogenic contributor in global warming and an ice melting enhancer has increased. Due to prospected increase in shipping especially in the Arctic reliability of BC emissions and their invented amounts from ships is gaining more attention. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is actively working toward estimation of quantities and effects of BC especially in the Arctic. IMO has launched work toward constituting a definition for BC and agreeing appropriate methods for its determination from shipping emission sources. In our study we evaluated the suitability of elemental carbon (EC) analysis by a thermal-optical transmittance (TOT) method to marine exhausts and possible measures to overcome the analysis interferences related to the chemically complex emissions. The measures included drying with CaSO4, evaporation at 40–180ºC, H2O treatment, and variation of the sampling method (in-stack and diluted) and its parameters (e.g., dilution ratio, Dr). A reevaluation of the nominal organic carbon (OC)/EC split point was made. Measurement of residual carbon after solvent extraction (TC-CSOF) was used as a reference, and later also filter smoke number (FSN) measurement, which is dealt with in a forthcoming paper by the authors. Exhaust sources used for collecting the particle sample were mainly four-stroke marine engines operated with variable loads and marine fuels ranging from light to heavy fuel oils (LFO and HFO) with a sulfur content range of <0.1–2.4% S. The results were found to be dependent on many factors, namely, sampling, preparation and analysis method, and fuel quality. It was found that the condensed H2SO4 + H2O on the particulate matter (PM) filter had an effect on the measured EC content, and also promoted the formation of pyrolytic carbon (PyC) from OC, affecting the accuracy of EC determination. Thus, uncertainty remained regarding the EC results from HFO fuels. Implications: The work supports one part of the decision making in black carbon (BC) determination methodology. If regulations regarding BC emissions from marine engines will be implemented in the future, a well-defined and at best unequivocal method of BC determination is required for coherent and comparable emission inventories and estimating BC effects. As the aerosol from marine emission sources may be very heterogeneous and low in BC, special attention to the effects of sampling conditions and sample pretreatments on the validity of the results was paid in developing the thermal-optical analysis methodology (TOT).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1298-1318
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of thermal optical analysis method of elemental carbon for marine fuel exhaust'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this