Ricardo Energy & Environment releases real-world vehicle emission test

24 April 2017 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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In a bid to support the development of ‘Clean Air Zones’ and ‘Low Emission Zones’, Ricardo Energy & Environment has developed a real-time non-invasive real-world air quality testing system that is able to connect emissions with vehicle type. Through a better understanding of the emission profiles of various vehicles, policy makers will be in a better position to evidence-based policies in relation to efforts to curb emission damage to health and well-being.
The air quality across regions frequented by vehicles has made headlines in recent years, as it became clear that vehicle manufacturers, including Volkswagen, were tampering with vehicle outputs between real-word driving conditions and testing conditions. Vehicles were found to be emitting up to 40 times more NOx in real world driving, as well as significant quantities of other toxins, relative to testing conditions. The economic socio-economic consequences of the alleged fraud have been estimated by one study to be in the order of € 29 billion.
In a bid to reduce the yearly deaths related to vehicle emissions, particularly within large metropolitan areas, a number of measures are being developed. One such measure is electrification of the wider vehicle fleet, which improves energy efficiency as well as cutting emissions of harmful chemicals in cities to zero. Other measures include increasingly stringent rules on new vehicles emissions, with fierce fines for non-compliance; as well as new measures to prohibit certain vehicles, at certain times, in ‘Clean Air Zones’ and ‘Low Emission Zones’, from access to cities or areas in cities.

Ricardo Energy & Environment releases vehicle emission test

While cities are moving to tackle the problems resultant from pollution, a clear understanding of the levels of pollution and the key sources of pollution remain difficult to identify – that it took so many years to identify that reality and the testing results from Volkswagen were significantly different highlights one element of the wider problem.

To provide local and national authorities with vehicle by vehicle measurements, in a completely non-intrusive manner, Ricardo Energy & Environment has developed a new measurement system. The system collects real-time information, including vehicle type, as well as their emissions of nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and ammonia.

By better understanding the major contributors to air pollution, and the respective type of emission, authorities and designers will be in a stronger position to create models, simulations and ultimately policies, that underpin Clean Air Zones – removing a number of assumptions and creating evidence based policies. In addition, the technology can be used for enforcement of emission standards and the identification of vehicles that do not comply.

Elucidating on the project, Sean Christiansen, Ricardo Energy & Environment air quality practice director, explains, “Ricardo’s new vehicle emission measurement service is a major step forward in the measurement of real-world vehicle emissions in the UK, helping our clients to improve the design, enforceability and overall effectiveness of Clean Air and Low Emissions Zones. The capability that this new system gives us complements the extensive air quality capabilities that Ricardo offers, ranging from support and advice on pollution control policies, pollution modelling and measurements, inventory design and compilation and the development of low emission strategies.”