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Noise and emission characterization of off-grid diesel-powered generators in Nigeria

Solomon O. Giwa (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Nigeria)
Collins N. Nwaokocha (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Nigeria)
Hezekiah O. Adeyemi (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Nigeria)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Article publication date: 7 March 2019

Issue publication date: 15 May 2019




Nigeria, a prominent country in Sub-Sahara Africa, is plagued with a protracted, erratic and low power supply. The purpose of this paper is to present an experimental investigation of the noise levels and pollutants’ (CO, CO2 and particulate matter (PM2.5)) concentrations associated with the prevalent use of diesel-powered generators in the country. It is aimed to provide information on the level of gaseous, particulate and noise pollutants that are related to diesel-powered generators that could assist in policy formulation and create public awareness on the possible health risks.


Diesel-fueled generators (105) with age and installed capacity ranging from 0.5 to 14 years and 10 to 500 kVA, respectively, were engaged in this work at Sango area of Ogun State, Nigeria. Standard measuring instruments were placed at 1 m from the diesel-powered generators to determine the noise levels and concentrations of CO, CO2 and PM2.5.


Ranges of 72.6–115.6 dB, 19–198 ppm, 501–5,805 ppm and 221–492 µg/m3 for the noise level, CO, CO2 and PM2.5 concentrations, respectively, were obtained. Both the averages and ranges of the noise levels and pollutants’ concentrations were considerably higher than the recommended maximum limits. Thus, this study substantiated the pollution of ambient noise and air because of the operation of diesel-fueled generators. Furthermore, the health risks connected to the exposure to CO and PM2.5 as implied via the evaluation of the air quality index revealed very unhealthy and hazardous conditions, respectively.

Research limitations/implications

The measurement of the pollutants’ concentrations at the tips of the exhaust pipes of the diesel-powered generators was desirable but could not be achieved using manually logged devices. Nonetheless, adequate pollutants’ concentration data that satisfactorily represent the level of air pollution associated with diesel-fueled generators’ operations were obtained at around 1 m from the exhaust pipes.

Practical implications

The study provided additional knowledge on the levels of noise and pollutants, and the public health risks connected to the operations of diesel-powered generators that will be beneficial to the public and policymakers.


The results revealed a considerably high level of noise and air pollution, and the inherent environmental and public health problems connected to diesel-powered generators’ usage in Nigeria. This could serve as a viable tool for formulating environmental policy and providing the necessary societal awareness in this regard.



Giwa, S.O., Nwaokocha, C.N. and Adeyemi, H.O. (2019), "Noise and emission characterization of off-grid diesel-powered generators in Nigeria", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 783-802.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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