Tackling nitric oxide emissions from dominant diesel vehicle models using on-road remote sensing technology

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Journal Article
Environmental Pollution, 2018, 243 pp. 1177 - 1185
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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Remote sensing provides a rapid detection of vehicle emissions under real driving condition. Remote sensing studies showed that diesel nitrogen oxides emissions changed little or were even increasing in recent years despite the tightened emission standards. To more accurately and fairly evaluate the emission trends, it is hypothesized that analysis should be detailed for individual vehicle models as each model adopted different emissions control technologies and retrofitted the engine/vehicle at different time. Therefore, this study was aimed to investigate the recent nitric oxide (NO) emission trends of the dominant diesel vehicle models using a large remote sensing dataset collected in Hong Kong. The results showed that the diesel vehicle fleet was dominated by only seven models, accounting for 78% of the total remote sensing records. Although each model had different emission levels and trends, generally all the dominant models showed a steady decrease or stable level in the fuel based NO emission factors (g/kg fuel) over the period studied except for BaM1 and BdM2. A significant increase was observed for the BaM1 2.49 L and early 2.98 L models during 2005–2011, which we attribute to the change in the diesel fuel injection technology. However, the overall mean NO emission factor of all the vehicles was stable during 1991–2006 and then decreased steadily during 2006–2016, in which the emission trends of individual models were averaged out and thus masked. Nevertheless, the latest small, medium and heavy diesel vehicles achieved similar NO emission factors due to the converging of operation windows of the engine and emission control devices. The findings suggested that the increasingly stringent European emission standards were not very effective in reducing the NO emissions of some diesel vehicle models in the real world. The European emission regulations were not very effective in reducing the NO emissions from some diesel vehicle models in the real world.
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