Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-482
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-482

  06 Jan 2021

06 Jan 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Detection of Ship Plumes from Residual Fuel Operation in Emission Control Areas using Single-Particle Mass Spectrometry

Johannes Passig1,2,3, Julian Schade2,3, Robert Irsig3,4, Lei Li5,6, Xue Li5,6, Zhen Zhou5,6, Thomas Adam1,7, and Ralf Zimmermann1,2,3 Johannes Passig et al.
  • 1Joint Mass Spectrometry Centre, Helmholtz Zentrum München, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany
  • 2Joint Mass Spectrometry Centre, Analytical Chemistry, University Rostock, 18059 Rostock, Germany
  • 3Department Life, Light & Matter, University of Rostock, 18051 Rostock, Germany
  • 4Photonion GmbH, 19061 Schwerin, Germany
  • 5Institute of Mass Spectrometry and Atmospheric Environment, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
  • 6Guangzhou Hexin Instrument Co., Ltd, Guangzhou 510530, China
  • 7Universität der Bundeswehr München, 85577 Neubiberg, Germany

Abstract. Ships are main contributors to global air pollution with substantial impacts on climate and public health. To improve air quality in densely populated coastal areas and to protect sensitive ecosystems, sulfur emission control areas (SECA) were established in many regions of the world. Ships in SECAs operate with low-sulfur fuels, typically distillate fractions such as marine gas oil (MGO). Alternatively, exhaust gas cleaning devices (scrubbers) can be implemented to remove SO2 from the exhaust, thus allowing the use of cheap high-sulfur residual fuels. Compliance monitoring is established in harbors, but difficult in open water because of high costs and technical limitations. Here we present the first experiments to detect individual ship plumes from distances of several kilometers by single-particle mass spectrometry (SPMS). In contrast to most monitoring approaches that evaluate the gaseous emissions, such as manned or unmanned surveillance flights, sniffer technologies and remote sensing, we analyze the chemical composition of the particulate phase that is transported by the wind over long distances. We optimized SPMS technology for the evaluation of residual fuel emissions and demonstrate their detection in a SECA. Our experiments show that ships with installed scrubbers can emit PM emissions with health-relevant metals in quantities high enough to be detected from more than 10 km distance, emphasizing the importance of novel exhaust cleaning technologies and cleaner fuels. Because of the unique and stable metal signatures, our method is not affected by urban background. With this study, we establish a route towards a novel monitoring protocol for ship emissions. Therefore, we present and discuss mass spectral signatures that indicate the particle age, and thus the distance to the source. By matching ship transponder data, measured wind data and air mass back trajectories, we show, how real-time SPMS data can be evaluated to assign distant ship passages.

Johannes Passig et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2020-482', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Feb 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Johannes Passig, 27 Mar 2021
  • RC2: 'Review of amt-2020-482', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Feb 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Johannes Passig, 27 Mar 2021

Johannes Passig et al.

Johannes Passig et al.

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Short summary
Ships are major sources of air pollution, however, monitoring of ship emissions outside harbours is a challenging task. We optimized single-particle mass spectrometry (SPMS) for the detection of bunker fuel emissions and demonstrate the detection of individual ship plumes from more than 10 km distance. The approach works independent of background air pollution and also when ships use exhaust cleaning scrubbers. We finally discuss the potential and limits of SPMS-based monitoring of ship plumes.