Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Prototype generators emit much less carbon monoxide, NIST finds

18.04.2013
Portable electric generators retrofitted with off-the-shelf hardware by the University of Alabama (UA) emitted significantly lower levels of carbon monoxide (CO) exhaust, according to the results* of tests conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Compared with standard portable generators, CO emissions from the prototype machines were reduced by 90 percent or more, depending on the specific hardware used and operating conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unintentional CO poisoning claims more than 400 lives a year. More than 20,000 people visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to exposure to toxic levels of the colorless, odorless gas. Fatality is highest among people 65 and older.

Many of these deaths and illnesses stem from unsafe use of portable generators, often in the aftermath of devastating storms and other causes of electric power outages. For the years 2005 to 2008, the CPSC reports that an estimated 37 to 47 percent of non-fire-related consumer product-related CO poisoning deaths were associated with generators.

The tests performed by NIST compared two commercially available gasoline-powered generators against two similar machines that UA retrofitted with closed-loop electronic fuel injection and a small catalyst. Tests were conducted at NIST's manufactured test home, with the generator operating in the attached garage so as to simulate some common scenarios that often result in deaths or injuries.

In one series of comparisons, generators operated three or more hours in the garage with the garage bay door open and the entry to the house closed. For the stock generator tested, CO levels in the garage peaked at 1,500 parts per million (ppm,which are equivalent to microliters per liter) and inside the house ranged between 150 and 200 ppm.

Clinical symptoms of CO poisoning, including headaches, nausea, and disordered thinking, begin appearing at exposure levels of 100 ppm after at least 90 minutes exposure. During the NIST tests, emissions from the prototype generators ranged from 20 to 30 ppm in the open garage and from 5 to 10 ppm in the house.

CPSC staff conducted health effects modeling using NIST's test results, as part of CPSC's technology demonstration program of the prototype generator, to show that its engine's reduced CO emission rate is expected to result in fewer deaths by significantly delaying the onset and rate of progression of CO poisoning symptoms compared to the stock generator.

On the basis of results of findings from NIST's two earlier studies,** the CDC advises to never run a generator less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area. Steven Emmerich, the lead NIST researcher, reminds that generators should always be operated outdoors, far from open windows. "Tragically, fatalities and injuries occur every year," he says. "We hope our research in support of CPSC's efforts to develop and demonstrate a low CO emission generator using existing emission control technology will contribute to practical safety improvements that will help to reduce this toll."

Annual sales of portable generators have been increasing in the United States and around the world, largely as insurance in the event of power failures. By 2014, U.S. sales of home generator units are predicted to reach $1.2 billion, according to a 2010 report by SBI Energy. The consultancy predicts that worldwide sales will grow to almost 13 million units in 2014.

In their study, NIST researchers also validated the use of their CONTAM*** computer model for studying the performance of prototype generators under a wider range of conditions than those tested. Results of simulations carried out with this publicly available software for studying building airflow and indoor air quality were checked against measurements of CO levels in actual tests. The predicted results were in good agreement with the CO measurements.

* S.J. Emmerich, A.K. Persily, and L. Wang, Modeling and Measuring the Effects of Portable Gasoline Powered Generator Exhaust on Indoor Carbon Monoxide Level, NIST Technical Note 1781, Feb. 2013. http://www.nist.gov/manuscript-publication-search.cfm?pub_id=912197

** L. Wang and S.J. Emmerich, Modeling the Effects of Outdoor Gasoline Powered Generator Use on Indoor Carbon Monoxide Exposures, NIST Technical Note 1637, Aug. 2009. http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build09/art009.html

L. Wang, S. J. Emmerich, and R. Powell, Modeling the Effects of Outdoor Gasoline Powered Generator Use on Indoor Carbon Monoxide Exposures – Phase II, NIST Technical Note 1666, July 2010. http://www.nist.gov/manuscript-publication-search.cfm?pub_id=905887

*** CONTAM multizone airflow and contaminant transport analysis software: http://www.bfrl.nist.gov/IAQanalysis/index.htm

Mark Bello | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>