Skip to main content

Numerical and physical assessment of control measures to mitigate fugitive dust emissions from harbor activities


In recent years, the industrial demand for petcoke—a solid residue derived from the refinement of crude oil—has been growing due to its low cost. The use of petcoke is causing environmental concern associated with its high level of contaminants and air pollutant emissions, mainly particulate matter (PM). Given the impact of petcoke on the environment and human health, increased attention has been given to its production, storage, transportation, and application processes. The main goal of this work was to assess the effectiveness of placing a barrier to reduce PM emissions from petcoke in a harbor area. The Port of Aveiro, Portugal, was used as case study. Firstly, wind tunnel experiments were performed for different types of barrier to (i) assess the effect on PM emissions of different types of barriers, namely solid, porous, and raised porous barriers; (ii) determine the optimal size and location of the barrier to achieve maximum reduction of PM emissions; and (iii) estimate the impact of placing such barrier in the attenuation of petcoke emissions over the harbor area. Secondly, the numerical model VADIS (pollutant DISpersion in the atmosphere under VAriable wind conditions) was run to evaluate the effect of implementing the barrier on the local air quality. Results showed that the best solution would be the implementation of two solid barriers: a main barrier of 109 m length plus a second barrier of 30 m length. This measure produced the best results in terms of reduction of the dispersion of particulate matter from the petcoke stockpile and minimization of the PM concentrations in the harbor surrounding area.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12


Download references


The authors are grateful to the Institute of Environment and Development, and to the Administration of the Port of Aveiro for promoting the work and allowing the results to be disseminated.


The authors wish to thank the financial support of FEDER through the COMPETE Programme and the national funds from FCT – Science and Technology Portuguese Foundation for financing the AIRSHIP project (PTDC/AAG-MAA/1581/2014), CESAM (UID/AMB/50017 - POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007638), and also for the PhD grant of S. Sorte (SFRH/BD/117164/2016).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sandra Sorte.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sorte, S., Rodrigues, V., Ascenso, A. et al. Numerical and physical assessment of control measures to mitigate fugitive dust emissions from harbor activities. Air Qual Atmos Health 11, 493–504 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Petcoke
  • Particulate matter emissions
  • Wind tunnel
  • CFD
  • Barrier implementation