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Beyond NOx - future air pollution impacts of road vehicles

Dr David Carslaw (YDC), Dr Marvin Shaw (UoY)

Project partner(s): Ricardo/Ricardo Energy & Environment (CASE)

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This project aims to establish much needed information on the real-world emissions from road vehicles on a wide range of important atmospheric pollutants. Since the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, there has been considerable focus on the emission of NOx. However, other species including ammonia, aldehydes, alcohols, nitrous acid all have potentially important direct effects (e.g. to human health) or indirect effects (in contributing to the formation of other important air pollutants). The information on the emissions of these species is very limited despite the growing interest in their impacts. The project will use two sophisticated instruments to develop emissions information from 1000s of individual vehicles under real driving conditions. The first is vehicle emission remote sensing (RS), which is a non-intrusive technique for measuring emissions from individual vehicles. The technique is increasingly used in Europe and can measure the emissions of 10,000s of vehicles under real driving conditions for common pollutant such as NOx and CO. The second is Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS), which can measure a wide range of individual hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, NH3 and many other species at high time resolution and the high sensitivity. The coupling of vehicle emissions remote sensing with SIFT-MS has the potential to bring a step change increase in the information on vehicle emissions under real driving conditions. The CASE partner, Ricardo (a vehicle engineering and environmental consultancy company), will provide highly complementary expertise and facilities that will maximise the relevance of the PhD to wider applications such as the development of the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and the policy relevance of vehicle emissions measurements and impacts internationally.

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Related undergraduate subjects:

  • Atmospheric science
  • Chemical engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Earth science
  • Environmental science
  • Meteorology
  • Physical science
  • Physics
  • Remote sensing