On-road traffic emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and their oxy- and nitro- derivative compounds measured in a road tunnel environment

Ian Keyte, Alexandre Albinet, Roy Harrison

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69 Citations (Scopus)
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Vehicular emissions are a key source of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their oxygenated (OPAH) and nitrated (NPAH) derivatives, in the urban environment. Road tunnels are a useful environment for the characterisation of on-road vehicular emissions, providing a realistic traffic fleet and a lack of direct sunlight, chemical reactivity and non-traffic sources. In the present investigation the concentrations of selected PAHs, OPAHs and NPAHs have been measured in the Parc des Princes Tunnel in Paris (PdPT, France), and at the Queensway Road Tunnel and urban background site in Birmingham (QT, U.K). A higher proportion of semi-volatile (3-4 ring) PAH, OPAH and NPAH compounds are associated with the particulate phase compared with samples from the ambient environment. A large (~85%) decline in total PAH concentrations is observed between 1992 and 2012 measurements in QT. This is attributed primarily to the introduction of catalytic converters in the U.K as well as increasingly stringent EU vehicle emissions legislation. In contrast, NPAH concentrations measured in 2012 are similar to those measured in 1996. This observation, in addition to an increased proportion of (Phe + Flt + Pyr) in the observed PAH burden in the tunnel, is attributed to the increased number of diesel passenger vehicles in the U.K during this period. Except for OPAHs, comparable PAH and NPAH concentrations are observed in both investigated tunnels (QT and PdP). Significant differences are shown for specific substances between PAC chemical profiles in relation with the national traffic fleet differences (33% diesel passenger cars in U.K. vs 69 % in France and up to 80% taking into account all vehicle categories). The dominating and sole contribution of 1-Nitropyrene observed in the PdPT NPAH profile strengthens the promising use of this compound as a diesel exhaust marker for PM source apportionment studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-1142
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date14 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


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