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Determination of the concentration of petroleum hydrocarbons in water column following in-situ burning

Chatzidakis Stavros

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Year 2019
Type of Item Diploma Work
Bibliographic Citation Stavros Chatzidakis, "Determination of the concentration of petroleum hydrocarbons in water column following in-situ burning", Diploma Work, School of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece, 2019
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The need for oil extraction and use is constantly increasing, which is directly linked, despite high safety measures, to the risk of significant leakage and the formation of oil spills in the marine environment. Oil spills need to be effaced as they can have significant impact on the marine ecosystem. Various methods of treatment have been developed, which may be either natural or chemical. The choice of the most appropriate method depends on a number of factors related to the type and composition of the oil, the characteristics of the area in which it spilled, the environmental conditions affecting the oil dispersion, degradation and evaporation. However, some of the methods can be harmful to the ecosystem when applied. This diploma thesis examines the impact of in-situ burning (ISB) as an oil spill response technique. More specifically, its subject is the determination of hydrocarbons concentration in water column after in-situ burning. If this method is applied under the right conditions, it can remove a very large amount of the spilled oil in a very short time. Despite that, it has two very toxic byproducts, the residue (unburned oil) and the smoke of combustion. The hydrocarbons pass in the water column from the burned residue. For this study, a large-scale (mesocosm) experiment was designed and carried out in collaboration with Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR), which emulated real burning conditions. Three combustion were made, in three different mesocosms. There were also another three mesocosms that were used as CONTROL. Samples were taken before, immediately after, and then every three days for two weeks after burning. Concentrations were determined by gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (G.C./M.S.). Analyzes of the samples showed an increase in saturated hydrocarbon concentrations immediately after burning, which at the end of the third day significantly decreased, approaching the initial values. Concerning the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), it has been observed that they are significantly increased, making samples particularly toxic to the marine ecosystem, especially during the first days after burning.

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