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In situ Experimental Study of Carbon Monoxide Generation by Gasoline-powered Electricity Generator in an Enclosed Space



Liangzhu Wang, Steven J. Emmerich


About 98 % of generator-related carbon monoxide (CO) fatalities in recent years were caused by running operating gasoline-powered generators in enclosed spaces. With an increasing market demand for portable, gasoline-powered electric generators, a better understanding is needed about the generator CO emission and contributing factors when running operating a generator indoors. This paper investigated CO generation from a generator running operating in a shed under real weather conditions. Thirteen separate tests have been conducted under different weather conditions and with half/full generator load settings. It was found that the CO level in the shed could reached a maximum value of 2.5 % by volume while the O2 was depleted to a minimum level of 16.2 % volume. This study showed that under real weather conditions the CO generation and the O2 depletion usage could be considered as a time-averaged generation/depletion usage rate evaluated as a transient process. The transient CO generation and O2 depletion usage rates were found out to be affected by multiple parameters, but mostly primarily by the surrounding O2 levels in the space and the running-time load output from the generator. This study then found characteristic correlations of these rates with the O2 level and the load output, which were shown to agree well with the measurement.
Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association


carbon monoxide, indoor air quality, experiment, residential building, garage, combustion products, oxygen depletion


Wang, L. and Emmerich, S. (2010), In situ Experimental Study of Carbon Monoxide Generation by Gasoline-powered Electricity Generator in an Enclosed Space, Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created December 1, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017