Characterisation of volatile organic compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the ambient air of steelworks

D Ciaparra, E Aries, MJ Booth, DR Anderson, SM Almeida, Stuart Harrad

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    investigations have been undertaken at two integrated steelworks in the UK to characterise airborne organic micro-pollutants and to assess the contribution of iron ore sintering and coke making operations on the air quality. Concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), namely benzene, toluene and p-xylene, were measured continuously within the boundary of a coking plant using for the first time differential optical absorption spectrometry (DOAS) between 2004 and 2006. Concentrations were obtained along two monitoring paths surrounding the coke plant and the average benzene concentration measured along both paths over the campaign was 28 mu g m(-3). Highest benzene concentrations were associated with winds downwind of the coke oven batteries. Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in ambient air were measured during 27 consecutive days in 2005 at three different locations on an integrated steelworks. PAH profiles were determined for each sampling point and compared to coke oven and sinter plant emission profiles showing an impact from the steelworks. The mean benzo [a] pyrene concentration determined in the immediate vicinity of the coke ovens downwind from the battery was 19 ng m(-3), whereas for the two other sites average benzo [a] pyrene concentrations were much lower (around 1 ng m(-3)). Data were analysed using principal components analysis (PCA) and results showed that coke making and iron ore sintering were responsible for most of the variation in the PAH concentrations in the vicinity of the investigated plant. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2070-2079
    Number of pages10
    JournalAtmospheric Environment
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


    • Coke ovens
    • Benzo [a] pyrene
    • Steel industry
    • Source apportionment
    • Differential optical absorption spectroscopy
    • Benzene


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