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DMT examines the particulates stirred up by street sweeping machines as part of the Environment Innovation Programme initiated by the Federal Ministry of the Environment.
Airborne particulates continue to be a problem that is virtually unsolved in Germany’s metropolitan areas. The focus is no longer exclusively on reducing emissions created by motor vehicles, industrial plants and other polluters. A new factor is the “collection and disposal” of those particulates. One approach to solving the problem is fitting street sweeping machines with special particulate filters.
To examine this option, the Refrigeration and Air Quality Section of the DMT, under contract to the Federal Ministry of the Environment, examined the filtering effects of various street sweepers that claim to reduce emissions and compared those findings with figures for conventional machines. Of particular interest here are the so-called PM10 emissions, those fine particulates that are less than 10 micrometers (10 µm) in diameter. These miniscule particles represent the greatest health hazards for humans, since, when inhaled, they cannot be filtered out in the upper respiratory tract.
Dirk Renschen, manager of the Product Testing Section at DMT explained the approach: “The basis was a previous project carried out in the 1990s – in which the Ministry of the Environment and Berlin’s street cleaning authority were involved – but the test methods were refined once again for the most recent test. The purpose was to examine not only the effectiveness of the filter technology used, but also the diffused particulate emissions raised by the sweeping process itself.”
Over and above that, the cleaning efficiency of the street sweepers was evaluated to determine how effectively dust and grime are removed from streets and roads. The results of testing are to be considered when formulating Guideline 2096, “Low-emission street sweeping machines”, being prepared by the VDI (Association of German Engineers).
Following the specifications set forth by the Ministry, DMT carried out the measurements in an enclosed hall. In preparation for testing, the hall was fitted with the appropriate instrumentation, including light scattering aerosol spectrometers and particulate spectrometers (optical laser spectroscopy) along with gravimetric particulate detection instruments for PM10 measurements.
The results of the examination give reason for optimism. Testing included reduced-emission machines incorporating separator filters and a wet vacuum sweeping unit. Both models lower PM10 particulate emissions by more than 90 percent when compared with standard street sweepers. This shows that the new generation of street sweepers can make a significant contribution to disposing of the fine particulates that endanger human health. This is an interesting new aspect for decision-makers in towns and cities that have a problem with particulates.
Contact and further information:
DMT GmbH & Co. KG
Building Safety Devision
Dr. Dirk Renschen
Am Technologiepark 1