Ricardo’s real-world driving emissions testing

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

Ricardo has launched a real-world vehicle emission measurement service at the Air Quality & Emissions Show (AQE), in Telford. The system uses absorption spectroscopy to monitor and record emissions such as NOx and NO2 from a vehicle’s exhaust as it passes by a road-side sensor. It then matches this data to vehicle characteristics such as engine type and age.

It is said the system can measure emissions from thousands of vehicles in a short space of time, without interfering with the vehicle being tested. This data promises to play an important role in providing cities and local authorities with the insight they need to develop Clean Air Zones and other air pollution mitigation measures.

Ricardo has measured emissions from over 20,000 vehicles during its preliminary measurement phase, a volume that Ricardo says far outweighs what can be achieved with laboratory based or portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS) in the same space of time.

Early results include a direct comparison between Euro 5 and Euro 6 engines under real-world driving conditions, and the impact that ‘cold-starts’ have on petrol and diesel engine emissions in urban environments.

“Ricardo has a strong history in emissions measurement and is one of the only organisations covering the three main methods for vehicle emissions monitoring - in the laboratory, with a PEMS kit and through the use of remote sensing,” said Sean Christiansen, Ricardo Energy & Environment air quality practice director. “This puts Ricardo in a unique position to help cities, local authorities and vehicle manufacturers to truly understand vehicle emissions and their impacts on people and the environment.”

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