Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Measuring African Vehicle Emissions, Sooner Rather than Later…

We already know that tackling vehicle emissions in non-OECD countries will be a major element of any efforts to meet Global Climate and Air Pollution targets, and that in many of these countries, most notably in Africa, limited local data and an overreliance on estimates inferred from data collected elsewhere mean that current inventories most likely significantly underestimate the scale of this challenge

In the US, Europe, China and Japan, Portable Emissions Measurement Systems (PEMS), purpose-built in?vehicle instrument platforms that provide the most direct and comprehensive measure of real?world vehicle emissions, are the method of choice for associated data gathering activities.

(See, e.g. Nick Molden’s discussion of Emissions Analytics recent PEMS work to reconcile the discrepancy between test-bed and on-road vehicle performance in Europe and the US.)

However, for researchers like Andriannah Mbandi, PhD with the Stockholm Environment Institute at University of York, looking to quickly roll out similar research across Africa, the current generation of commercial PEMS, often big, heavy, expensive to run, and hard to quickly deploy, are proving the largest bottleneck.

That is why researchers at University of Leeds collaborating on the parSYNC Research Project, an international partnership led by US based company 3DATX, to  deploy and validate a low-cost, light-weight, small?footprint PEMS, are loaning Andriannah a next generation parSYNC® system.

Dr Karl Ropkins, Leeds lead on the project, said ‘When we heard what Andriannah was trying to do and why, it seemed an obvious solution. Andriannah gets to collect the novel and much need data she needs sooner rather than later and, at the same time, the parSYNC Research Partnership get a demonstrator for third-party parSYNC deployment in a truly challenging environment.’ 

Preliminary real world particulate emission measurements from in use vehicle, collected using a parSYNC® in Kenya. (Emission map made using R/pems.utils; map panel © Google.)