In future drivers may only have to glance at the dashboard to see the pollution spewing out of their vehicle’s exhausts.
A team from The University of Manchester has constructed a laser measuring device capable of recording levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane from directly inside an exhaust.
Once optimised, the process could be incorporated into onboard diagnostic systems that would monitor emissions as vehicles drive along – and potentially help people reduce their emissions by adjusting their driving style.
Reporting in the Optical Society of America’s journal Applied Optics, academics claim this approach is faster and more sensitive than the extractive techniques normally used to monitor emissions.
In an MOT test, for example, exhaust emissions are extracted into a box while the engine is idling and the gases present are then measured.
The University of Manchester team employed a device known as a ‘near-IR diode laser sensor’ to measure the variation in gas concentration during changes in the operating conditions of a Rover engine, such as increasing and decreasing the throttle, adjusting the air to fuel ratio, and start-up.
“This is the first instance of this type of near-IR diode laser sensor being used directly in the exhaust of a static internal combustion engine to measure emissions,” said Dr Philip Martin, one of the paper’s authors.
The team say the components for the device are readily available and the near-IR technology allows highly accurate readings to be taken and also cuts out interference.
In the studies reported in Applied Optics, the near-IR device used two diode lasers operating at different frequencies; one detecting carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and the other detecting methane.
The team measured the emissions produced by a Rover K-series car engine mounted on a test bed – but they have also taken the process outside the laboratory and measured exhaust emissions in passing vehicles.
“Components handling the high sensitivity and robustness required to apply this approach in the real world are only now becoming available,” added Dr Martin. “We have already constructed a battery-powered roadside unit using the same technology, employing rugged and robust telecommunications components.”
The next steps will be to fully quantify the technique and add additional lasers for other key emissions such as nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide and specific hydrocarbons.
Dr Martin, who is a co-founder of University spin-out company TDL Sensors, says the technology could also potentially be used in roadside congestion charging systems, with less polluting vehicles being charged less.
Jon Keighren | alfa
The car of the future – sleeper cars and travelling offices too?
18.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Self-driving cars for country roads
07.05.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL
Different eras of civilization are defined by the discovery of new materials, as new materials drive new capabilities. And yet, identifying the best material...
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
19.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.12.2018 | Life Sciences