Mobile Laboratory Measurement of Black Carbon, Particulate Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Other Exhaust Emissions in Mexico City


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Virginia Tech


Black carbon (BC) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are two atmospheric pollutants produced by motor vehicles using carbonaceous fuels. As a part of the Mexico City Project, measurements of BC, PPAHs and many other gas- and particle-phase emissions were measured in Mexico City using a mobile laboratory during the Mexico City Metropolitan Area field campaign in April 2003 (MCMA-2003). The main goal of this research is to estimate emissions of BC and particulate PAHs (PPAHs) for Mexico City's vehicle fleet. The emissions of gas-phase pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), total nitrogen oxides (NOy) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) are also estimated. The mobile lab has previously been used to chase vehicles and measure their emissions, but analysis has traditionally focused on determining emission factors of individual vehicles associated with specific chasing events. The laboratory continuously samples ambient air from an inlet at the front of the van, and it is always "seeing" exhaust plumes from the vehicles around it while driving through traffic. We have developed an algorithm that automatically identifies the exhaust plume measurement points, which are then used as the basis for calculation of emission factors. In the nearly 90 hours of on-road sampling during the field campaign, we have identified ~30,000 exhaust measurement points. The large sample size enables us to estimate fleet-average emission factors and thus the emission inventory. Motor vehicles are estimated to emit annually 1,960 tons of BC, 56.2 tons of PPAHs, 1,320,000 tons of CO, 125,000 tons of NOy and 2440 tons of VOCs. The spatial and temporal patterns of BC and PPAHs in different locations with in MCMA are also studied.



total nitrogen oxides (NOy), carbon monoxide, benzene, volatile organic compound (VOC), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), black carbon, emission inventory, mobile laboratory