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Traffic is the main cause of particulate emissions in urban air

The report “Reducing Traffic- and Transport-Related Particulate Emissions” published by Tekes, highlights the most recent knowledge of traffic-related particle emissions.

Traffic-related emissions result from either the combustion process in vehicle engines or from the tyre contact with the pavement. The latter produces street dust, which is problematic during the spring in the Nordic countries.

The FINE Particles - Technology, Environment and Health – National Technology Programme has played a key role in catalysing the study of traffic-related particles in Finland, and in pushing forward public discussion on these types of emissions and their effects on urban air quality, people´s health, and atmospheric processes.

The FINE projects focused on studying the formation, characteristics, and dispersion of particles emitted by the vehicles, and the effect of different technologies. A mobile laboratory known as the “Sniffer” developed in one of the FINE projects, was used for vehicle chase measurements.

Promising results in engine technology

The technology oriented projects devoted to the potential of modern engine technology to reduce particle formation. Injection timing, combustion chamber shape, swirl motion, and controllable valve timing were found to be promising ways of cutting particulate emissions.

Finnish companies have benefited directly in terms of enhanced expertise and the improved understanding of the processes and mechanisms associated with particle formation and properties.

The FINE Programme has highlighted the need for further research in areas such as, biofuels and the characteristics of the particulates they release.

In Europe and in the USA, tougher traffic-related emission limits can be expected in the near future. New emission limits represent a major challenge in terms of developing the best technology to meet them and the best technology for providing measurement data. However, tougher limits will create new business opportunities for companies devoted to reduce emissions and develop technology suitable for combating them.

The FINE Programme launched in 2002 by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, was completed in the spring of 2006. The Programme involved over 50 individual projects and close to 60 companies and over 20 research institutions. Work of 11 FINE projects focused on traffic-related particulate emissions.

Eeva Ahola | alfa
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