Air quality on biomass harvesting operations
The working environment around logging operations can be very dusty. But, air quality around logging operations is not well documented. Equipment movements and trafficking on the landing can cause dust to rise into the air. The addition of a biomass chipper creates different air flow patterns and may stir up additional dust. This project addresses two topics related to air quality on biomass harvesting operations. The first topic addresses the quantity of dust in the air during biomass harvesting operations related to human health. Wood and other dusts can cause eye irritation, and in severe cases, may scratch the cornea. Exposure to wood dust may also cause allergic respiratory reactions, especially in people who suffer from asthma. During this study, the measure of particulate matter in the air is compared to the OSHA standards for nuisance dust (particulates not otherwise regulated) in a working environment. The second topic addresses the impact of air quality on biomass feedstock characteristics. Analysis quantifies the amount of dust in the air and estimates the impact that it could have on the amount of ash in biomass. The research goal of the overall project is to provide a thorough analysis of air quality on landings of various biomass harvesting operations to determine the potential impacts of nuisance dust on human health and biomass feedstock quality. This paper documents findings from an initial project installation in Alabama.