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EU-HK Research and Innovation Cooperation Co-funding Mechanism by RGC - Layman Summaries of Projects Funded in 2019/20 Exercise

E-HKUST601/19
Impact of complex urban built environments on the dynamics of vehicular NO and NO2 emission dispersion from the tailpipe to the roadside atmosphere

Hong Kong Principal Investigator: Prof Zhi NING (The University of Hong Kong)
European Principal Investigator: Prof Ake SJÖDIN (IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute)

Air Pollution has adverse effects on public health and environment. The particulate matter and gaseous pollutants are the major components of air pollution. Extensive research followed with stringent regulations haven seen a reduction in the quantity of air pollutants especially the particulate matter. However, the gaseous pollutants concentration, especially NOx (NO and NO2), have not shown significant reduction in the past decade. While NO and NO2 are strongly driven by emissions and atmospheric conversion of emissions from vehicles, the titration of NO with background ozone is also a major contributor given rise to ozone background that has been observed in various urban places, which necessitates the need to understand the dynamics of NO and NO2 to target control strategies. Hitherto, there was no available research knowledge for enlightening the dynamics of pollution emissions and in identifying the cause for the influence of urban terrain on micro-environmental pollutant concentrations in traffic hotspots of Hong Kong. Hence, this project is aimed at addressing these issues. The project consists of two lines of research. The first will track the real-world NOx dispersion patterns and their conversion processes from individual vehicle tailpipes to the atmosphere in Hong Kong using on-road sampling methods including portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS), a sensor network cart trailer, and a plume chasing system. The second will include a vertically and horizontally spaced high-density sensor network in roadside for capturing the dispersion and conversion process of vehicle emission from on-road to ambient. Information regarding the meteorological conditions and roadside building characteristics will also be collected to understand their impact on the dynamics of roadside NOx conditions and conversion processes. The project outcomes will be key to knowledge development in air modelling, control measures and public exposure activities.