• The University of Oviedo has installed the first carbonaceous microscopic particles meter of Spain

    November 18, 2011

    The data collected will allow analyzing the carbonaceous microscopic particles impact on health and environment, and detecting the source of polluting emissions

    The University of Oviedo, in collaboration with the Government of the Principality of Asturias, has installed a meter for carbonaceous microscopic particles, "black carbon" (BC) or unburned particles generated in combusting processes in Lugones. This is the first meter of these characteristics on Spain, and one of the few which are working in Europe. In fact, its use is only known in the net to assess air quality in London and in some Swiss cities.

    This action is framed in the Agreement signed this same year between the Regional Ministry for Environment and the University of Oviedo with the main purpose of improving air quality in our Region.

    The measuring equipment, funded by the Campus of International Excellence, is installed in a small station located in the "Astures" Secondary School of Lugones and it came into operation a few days ago.

    The importance of this device is that it will provide fundamental information to analyze the impact of carbonaceous particles both in health and environment, at the same time that it will detect the source of emissions. The carbonaceous nanoparticles are those which remain on air after burning diesel, coal, biomass, heating operating... and they penetrate deeply affecting the respiratory system, thus influencing asthma or allergic diseases. At the same time, "black carbon" is considered one of the highest agents which cause climate change. This new meter distinguishes among diverse types of particles according to the type of fuel which generates them so that studying the source of pollution will be easier.

    This technology is so advanced that European laws haven't even established limits for this kind of particles. Just USA and India have some plans to control and measure this type of particles.

    The meter installed is part of an ambitious plan to install more BC meters that will be setting up in the different stations located in the Principality's network or other newly created.

    Principality- University Agreement

    This agreement signed by the Principality of Asturias, through its Regional Ministry for Environment and the University of Oviedo, promoted by the Vice-rector's office for Research, aims to support environmental observation and research in order to improve air quality in Asturias.

    To reach so, the Principality of Asturias, apart from easing all the data and information obtained through its network, is authorizing the University of Oviedo to install new meters on the Automatic Network for Monitoring Air Quality in the Principality of Asturias so that new information can be gathered.

    The Monitoring network is currently formed by 19 remote stations, two data processing centres and five subcentres located in the City Halls as well as an emission mobile unit with which campaigns will be done in the different places of the region. These means can measure and control the emission levels of SO2, nitrogen oxides, CO, BTX, PM10 and PM5,2 particles, Lead and Ozone.