Drs. Maarten Lörtzer
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The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) started a research and development (R&D) project on smart monitoring emissions of diesel vehicles. The National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore awarded TNO with a research grant for this project in late 2018 following an innovation call for the demonstrations of real-time monitoring solutions for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions from diesel vehicles.
This project combines for the first time, reliable insights and understanding of real-world emission levels of diesel vehicles including PM, essential in the development of cleaner and smarter mobility in Singapore. During the last decade, the gap between real-world emissions and laboratory measurements (chassis dyno) became increasingly clear. To understand and quantify this gap better, TNO developed a practical and easy-to-use system: TNO’s Smart Emissions Measurement System (SEMS). TNO has an extensive track record of more than 30 years of measuring emissions of light and heavy duty vehicles and is responsible for deriving the emission factors for road transport in the Netherlands.
The objective of the R&D project is to assess the feasibility of monitoring tailpipe emissions of NOx and PM from vehicles in real-time using TNO’s SEMS, which has capabilities to assess the emissions of other gases such as CO2 and NH3. The real-time emissions can also be accessed online by the vehicle fleet owners and regulators for monitoring vehicle performance and compliance with the regulations. As TNO’s SEMS is small and easy-to-use, it does not interfere with the normal operations of the vehicle and therefore enables the monitoring of representative real-world emissions conveniently. This is in contrast to the current commercial measurement systems which are bulky on the outside of the vehicle or can only be used in controlled laboratory environment. SEMS can accurately monitor the on-road emissions of all diesel vehicles, including light duty, heavy duty and non-road mobile machinery.
In this R&D project, one of the key innovations is to integrate a low-cost, low-maintenance particulate matter (PM) sensor into the current SEMS system. The PM sensor does not interfere with the normal operation of the vehicle, making it suitable for long monitoring campaigns.
Measurement data will be wirelessly transmitted to the processing server, using the 3G/4G network. Its automated processing activities include an overall quality check, enriching sensor data with environmental data, applying calibration settings and performing sanity checks on the data. Furthermore, an interactive geographical map is provided on which the different instantaneous emissions can be plotted. This facilitates the attribution of low and/or excessive emissions from the vehicle to the driving circumstances, such as road slope, traffic conditions and driving style. The measurement results are made available via a dedicated website that is only accessible to authorized personnel.