Sensors for polluting vehicles have helped improve air quality in Hong Kong

  • Gadgets
  • Wednesday, 09 Feb 2022

To improve air quality, cities could install roadside sensors to detect the presence of highly polluting vehicles. — AFP Relaxnews

To improve air quality, cities could install roadside sensors to detect the presence of high-polluting vehicles, suggest Australian researchers. The idea would be to combine this monitoring system with a program to repair vehicles that are heavy emitters.

Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney, the study authors analyzed data obtained from pollution radars – on road remote sensing technology, set up by the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department. This remote monitoring program began in September 2014.

Professor John Zhou from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and co-author of the work explained that “remote sensing equipment uses a sensor and light beam to measure chemical concentrations in the exhaust as a vehicle drives past. A camera records the license plate, so vehicles can be identified for inspection and repair.”

The study analysed data from the program implemented in Hong Kong between September 2014 and December 2018. During this period, approximately 2.9 million vehicles were screened from over 150 monitoring sites. Air quality measurements were also considered.

A total of 16,365 high-emitting LPG and gasoline vehicles were identified by remote sensing and received emission test notices. Of these, 96.3% were successfully repaired and subsequently passed the Hong Kong Transient Emissions Test (HKTET). Nearly 90% of the repairs needed were related to three-way catalytic converters and oxygen sensors, the study notes.

According to the Australian researchers’ observations, these polluting vehicle sensors have contributed to a significant improvement in air quality in Hong Kong, due to a significant and continuous reduction in the level of harmful chemicals at the roadside.

Overall, repairing high-emission vehicles could have reduced total hydrocarbon emissions by 22%, carbon monoxide by 47%, and nitrous oxide by 39%. – AFP Relaxnews

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