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Conference report: 18th ETH Conference on Combustion Generated Nanoparticles

10 July 2014

The 18th ETH Conference on Combustion Generated Nanoparticles was held on June 22-25, 2014 in Zürich. The Conference program included 56 presentations and 61 posters in the poster sessions. There were over 340 registrants.

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Regulatory Particulate Metrics. While ambient air quality limits on black carbon emissions have yet to appear, in December 2013, the EU proposed a new ‘clean air policy package’ that would, among other things, set new obligations regarding the monitoring of black carbon. This could lead the way for possible future emission ceilings for this component of particulate matter. A standardized monitoring method should be available in 2015 that could be applied to national monitoring networks by 2017 [Van Ham, EFCA].

Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation in the environment is often overlooked when discussing ambient particle loadings. In Germany, while road transport is the principal source of primary particles, emission levels of ambient aerosol precursor compounds—such as NH3, SO2, NOx and NMVOC—that are important contributors to total ambient particle loadings far exceed those of primary particles [Zellner, University of Duisburg-Essen].

Secondary organic aerosol formation from two important sources, diesel exhaust and pellet boiler exhaust, was studied by the Finnish Meteorological Institute by aging in an environmental chamber. They found diesel exhaust is quite passive, producing very little secondary organic aerosols, while that from the pellet boiler produced significant SOA and particulate nitrate. When exhaust from the two sources was mixed, the characteristic features of the particulate phase from each source persisted during aging. However, the gas phases mixed and affected the SOA formation potential of the mixture [Leskinen].

Other Regulatory Trends. Upcoming Real Driving Emissions (RDE) testing requirements in the EU will require portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS) to also measure solid particles. Five different instrument technologies have been tested so far in the JRC PN-PEMS Pilot Study; three of which are commercially available and two of which are prototypes. All are based on diffusion chargers meaning that none actually count particles but produce a voltage proportional to particle surface area from which particle number concentration can be calculated based on calibration data. Some of the instruments have excellent correlation with the PMP method while all showed good capability to detect a pass/fail condition. The list of technical requirements for PN-PEMS has been drafted and the instruments participating in the program are being upgraded. The next phase of the program is set to commence in October of this year. Calibration of the PN-PEMS can be a significant challenge. Two approaches being currently considered include the use of a standardized aerosol or calibration against the PMP on a chassis dynamometer [Riccobono, JRC]. Matter Aerosol’s NANOMET3 is one of the instruments being developed for PN-PEMS [Cachon, Matter Aerosol].

The 19th ETH Conference on Combustion Generated Nanoparticles will be held on June 28–July 1, 2015 at the ETH Zentrum in Zürich, Switzerland.

Conference website: www.nanoparticles.ethz.ch