AQMesh pods measure the effects of cruise ship emissions on local air quality

AQMesh pods have been used in a project at the Port of Kiel, Germany, to measure emissions of nitrous oxides (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM) around the port’s cruise ship terminal.

In just one year, the port received 166 visits by 33 different cruise ships, bringing a record breaking 600,000 visitors into the city. Emissions from the cruise ship terminal and its impact on local air quality has been the subject of discussion for some time, because the city’s reference stations indicate that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels regularly exceed the World Health Organisation’s annual mean limit of 40μg/m3.

The joint project with Eurofins and Olfasense, which used AQMesh air quality monitors with the Ortelium dynamic atlas system, measured and studied levels of NO2 and PM at the cruise ship terminal over several months.

AQMesh pods, supplied by the German distributor Envilyse, measured NO, NO2, O3, PM1, PM2.5 and PM10, as well as relative humidity, temperature and atmospheric pressure. After being co-located with passive samplers at the installation site to provide the greatest degree of accuracy, real time sensor data from the AQMesh pods was fed into the Ortelium system.

The Ortelium atlas allowed measurements from the pods to be visualised in real time and, combined with meteorological data, showed how the emission levels changed during arrival, berthing and departure of the cruise ships.

Data analysis concluded that the cruise ships were not directly responsible for high levels of NO2. This is a similar outcome to a study carried out at a UK airport, which concluded that local traffic was more of an issue than the airport activity.

Plumes from shipping are notoriously difficult to detect and analyse from land, but AQMesh now has a carbon dioxide (CO2) sensor which allows a combustion plume to be detected from elevated CO2 levels. Pollutants can then be evaluated in this context.

AQMesh is in use at a variety of harbours and ports around the world including the UK, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Vietnam and Germany. The pods can now monitor up to 6 gases using the latest generation of sensors, as well as PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and total particle count (TPC) with a light-scattering optical particle counter.