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Software tools help solve Europe’s air pollution problems


EUREKA project E! 1388 EUROENVIRON AIDAIR has developed a set of easy-to-use software tools, based on state-of-the-art modelling and data analysis methods, that will greatly enhance environmental management. The AIDAIR system utilises real-time links to monitoring sensors, regional forecasts and pollution control technologies to help decision-makers respond to air quality problems and pollution hotspots. As a commercially available product, it helps ensure compliance with EU pollution directives.

Urban air pollution is a major concern throughout Europe as industrial waste, traffic congestion and over-crowding in cities create pollutants that significantly contribute to environmental damage and health problems.

“We have created a complete solution combining real-time measurements with scientific analysis and computer simulations to provide decision-makers with the accurate information needed to respond to high pollution levels,” explains Dr Kurt Fedra, Director of the Austrian lead partner, Environmental Software and Services GmbH (ESS).

While many of the basic tools and technologies are available as isolated components, AIDAIR provides a single integrated and focused package - an essential advantage for improving air quality management and ensuring compliance with EU pollution directives.

“The AIDAIR system can assist in the diverse fields of energy management, traffic planning, managing the accidental release of pollutants and assessing the environmental impact of new pollution sources such as waste incinerators,” says Fedra.

It uses real-time links to meteorological and air-quality monitoring sensors, expert systems for estimating traffic-generated pollutants and pollutant databases, as well as pollution control technologies to provide decision-makers with the information needed to take action.

“Our main objective was to integrate the various air-quality management systems into a single tool which even a non-technical person would find easy to use. With such data at their fingertips, they can then easily simulate ‘what if’ scenarios to find the best solution to problems such as traffic congestion or site location of a new chemical plant,” explains Dr Fedra.

AIDAIR is now available as the commercial product AIRWARE from ESS and is used by various end-users, including local and regional government agencies responsible for air quality and emissions control, major energy-intensive industries and traffic planners.

AIDAIR at work

Traffic is the main source of pollutants in the city of Pisa, Italy. Complex wind patterns lead to pollution hotspots that have previously been hard to predict.

AIDAIR gathers data from meteorological test points modelled by expert systems, allowing the air pollution to be estimated for either short periods caused by rush hour traffic or for longer episodes, enabling traffic planners to run simulations and make better-informed decisions on possible solutions, including varying car numbers and speeds.

AIDAIR has already increased the lead partner’s turnover by 30%. The work is continuing in EUREKA project E! 3266 WEBAIR, aiming to add real-time and internet system access.

“EUREKA was the ideal framework for this research as we wanted to work with partners outside the EU. The co operation has been highly successful, resulting in a developed commercial product,” says Fedra

Catherine Shiels | alfa
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