Simplified real-time PAH measurement techniques

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The increased use of residential wood and coal stoves in recent years caused a growing concern for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emissions from these stoves. Design of stoves that reduce PAH emissions has been hampered because existing PAH measurement techniques are slow, complex, and expensive. This study investigates two simple, inexpensive, real-time PAH measurement techniques which might be suitable for testing stoves. The first uses a device, called the "moving tape sampler" (MTS), that collects particulate samples on filter paper tape and uses sensitized flourescence to measure total PAH on the tape. The MTS results are compared to the results of a conventional PAH measurement technique, but no definite relationship between the two is found. Uncertainties about the conventional technique make it unclear whether one or both of the techniques give incorrect emission rates. The second method is the use of CO and NOx as proxy compounds to infer PAH emissions. A plot of CO emission factors against PAH emission factors suggest CO as a proxy for PAH emissions while a similar plot for NOx gives some evidence of NOx being an "inverse" proxy for PAH emissions. The lack of a trusted PAH measurement technique has hampered the evaluation of both the MTS and proxy techniques.