Science Inventory

Characterization of Emissions and Residues from Simulations of the Deepwater Horizon Surface Oil Burns

Citation:

Gullett, B., J. Aurell, A. Holder, Bill Mitchell, D. Greenwell, M. Hays, R. Conmy, D. Tabor, W. Preston, I. George, J. Abrahamson, R. Vander Wal, AND E. Holder. Characterization of Emissions and Residues from Simulations of the Deepwater Horizon Surface Oil Burns. MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 117(1-2):392-405, (2017). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.01.083

Impact/Purpose:

This paper presents the most comprehensive dataset on emissions from at-sea burning of crude oil. The at-sea, in situ oil burns from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster were simulated to sample emissions. This information relates to the oil and gas industry, emergency responders and government agencies to provide data to enable hazard and risk assessments. The assessment work described herein will address these gaps using studies to generate chemical emission data and samples for direct use in assessing ecological injury to, e.g., marine mammals.

Description:

The surface oil burns conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard from April to July 2010 during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico were simulated by small scale burns to characterize the pollutants, determine emission factors, and gather particulate matter for subsequent toxicity testing. A representative crude oil (Bayou Sweet) was burned in ocean-salinity seawater and emissions were collected from the plume by means of a crane-suspended emission sampling platform. A comprehensive array of emissions was characterized, accounting for over 92% by mass of the combustion products even without accounting for H2O. The particulate matter emissions were 70 g/kg (±8.3) of oil consumed, composed of 81% (±8) elemental carbon, and 80% were 1 µm in diameter or less. The particulate matter emissions were strongly light absorbing and had a single scattering albedo of 0.4 (±0.01) at 532 nm. Emissions of the 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were approximately 1 g/kg of oil consumed. While the oil burn particles were highly PAH-enriched, less than 30% of the PAHs were particle-bound, the rest being in the gas phase. Formation of polychlorinated dibenzodioxin/dibenzofuran (PCDD/DF) was observed at 1.2 ng toxic equivalency (TEQ)/kg of oil consumed. Analysis of the particles showed the major elements to be Na, S, Cl and Si with no other elements, including metals, exceeding 5 mg/kg oil consumed. The unburned oil mass was 29% of the original crude oil mass, significantly higher than others have reported. Analysis of alkanes (C10-C35), elements, and PAHs in the floating residual oil and water accounted for over 51% of the gathered mass.

URLs/Downloads:

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.01.083   Exit

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.01.083   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 04/15/2017
Record Last Revised: 04/12/2018
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 336186

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY

AIR POLLUTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL DIVISION