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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
10 Feb 2016
Review status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Using Low Cost Sensors to Measure Ambient Particulate Matter Concentrations and On-Road Emissions Factors
Karoline K. Johnson1, Michael H. Bergin1, Armistead G. Russell2, and Gayle S. W. Hagler3 1School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC, 27708, USA
2School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30332, USA
3U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Research Triangle Park, NC, 27711, USA
Abstract. Air quality is a growing public concern in both developed and developing countries, as is the public interest in having information on air pollutant concentrations within their communities. Quantifying the spatial and temporal variability of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is of particular importance due to the well-defined health impacts associated with PM2.5. This work evaluates a number of select PM sensors (Shinyei: models PPD42NS, PPD20V, PPD60PV) under a variety of ambient conditions and locations including urban background and roadside sites in Atlanta, GA, as well as a location with substantially higher ambient concentrations in Hyderabad, India. Low cost sensor measurements were compared against reference monitors at all locations. On-road emissions factors were calculated at the Atlanta site by pairing PM2.5 and separately determined black carbon (BC) and carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements. On-road emission factors can vary in different locations and over time for a number of reasons, including vehicle fleet composition and driving patterns and behaviors, and current environmental policy. Emission factors can provide valuable information to inform researchers, citizens, and policy makers. The PPD20V sensors had the highest correlation with the reference environmental beta attenuation monitor (E-BAM) with R2 values above 0.80 at the India site while at the urban background site, the PPD60PV had the highest correlation with the tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) with an R2 value of 0.30. At the roadside site, only the PPD20V was used, with an R2 value against the TEOM of 0.18. Emissions factors at the roadside site were calculated as 0.39 ± 0.10 g PM2.5 per kg fuel and 0.11 ± 0.01g BC per kg fuel, which compare well with other studies and estimates based on other instruments. The results of this work show the potential usefulness of these sensors for high concentration applications in developing countries and for their use in generating emissions factors.

Citation: Johnson, K. K., Bergin, M. H., Russell, A. G., and Hagler, G. S. W.: Using Low Cost Sensors to Measure Ambient Particulate Matter Concentrations and On-Road Emissions Factors, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2015-331, 2016.
Karoline K. Johnson et al.
Karoline K. Johnson et al.


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Short summary
Low-cost air quality sensors were evaluated in Atlanta, GA, in Hyderabad, India and also in lab experiments. Freeway emissions were also quantified in Atlanta. The performance of these sensors were evaluated against current measurement instruments. Results show potential usefulness for these sensors in polluted areas. The ability to inexpensively measure air pollution will enable researches, citizens, and policy makers to make informed decisions to reduce health impacts from air pollution.
Low-cost air quality sensors were evaluated in Atlanta, GA, in Hyderabad, India and also in lab...