Emission characteristics of volatile organic compounds and their secondary organic aerosol formation potentials from a petroleum refinery in Pearl River Delta, China.
Process-specific emission characteristics of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from petrochemical facilities were investigated in the Yangtze River Delta, China. Source samples were collected from various process units in the petrochemical, basic chemical, and chlorinated chemical plants, and were measured using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/flame ionization detection. The results showed that propane (19.9%), propene (11.7%), ethane (9.5%) and i-butane (9.2%) were the most abundant species in the petrochemical plant, with propene at much higher levels than in petrochemical profiles measured in other regions. Styrene (15.3%), toluene (10.3%) and 1,3-butadiene (7.5%) were the major species in the basic chemical industry, while halocarbons, especially dichloromethane (15.2%) and chloromethane (7.5%), were substantial in the chlorinated chemical plant. Composite profiles were calculated using a weight-average approach based on the VOC emission strength of various process units. Emission profiles for an entire petrochemical-related industry were found to be process-oriented and should be established considering the differences in VOC emissions from various manufacturing facilities. The VOC source reactivity and carcinogenic risk potential of each process unit were also calculated in this study, suggesting that process operations mainly producing alkenes should be targeted for possible controls with respect to reducing the ozone formation potential, while process units emitting 1,3-butadiene should be under priority control in terms of toxicity. This provides a basis for further measurements of process-specific VOC emissions from the entire petrochemical industry. Meanwhile, more representative samples should be collected to reduce the large uncertainties.