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DfT Air Quality competition briefing webinar - a clean slate for novel but scientifically justified solutions for cleaner roadside air

The Department for Transport (DfT) and the KTN today held the first of two webinars briefing a good number of interested parties on the background, the competition scope and how to apply to the Air Quality - NOx mitigation competition.

The DfT stated that cities in the UK are not alone in Europe in exceeding the air quality limits laid down in EU air quality legislation (2008/50/EC).

But there’s growing evidence for NO2 causing adverse health effects, and financial consequences. Fine particulate matter can pass through to human lungs and contributes to cardio vascular disease - and 29,000 early deaths a year could be attributable to this, with costs of poor health and early death considered at more than £10BN a year.

Transport is the main source of poor air quality at the roadside.

There’s political background too, with manifesto promises expected for ultra low emission areas to be introduced in UK cities.

Draconian measures to address air quality, such as banning diesels, are not considered popularly acceptabloe so the DfT is looking for Innovative ways to deal with the problem in, localised, affected areas.

The DfT hopes to approve 4 – 6 projects, 100% funded, of between £25 and £50K each.

 

Cleaner vehicles not expected to make enough of a difference to reach 2020 targets

Air quality improvements have been achieved from cleaner energy production; more efficient industrial processes; unleaded gasoline and ultra low sulphur diesel; and the introduction of cleaner vehicles.

But hoped-for reductions in NOx remain elusive. It was noted in the DfT presentation that this, ironically, is a sign of efficient combustion in engines.

The annual average NO2 roadside concentrations, according to EU air quality standards, should not exceed 40 μg/m3 (20 ppbv) and one hour maximum 200 μg/m3; not to be exceeded more than 18 times a calendar year.

However, a July 2014 Defra report found only 5 of 43 zones will be compliant by 2015.

DfT stated that the expected uptake of new cleaner vehicles is not expected to be at a sufficient pace to meet higher 2020 targets.

 

New approaches wanted

DfT are looking for a change from the usual vehicle based fixes for tail pipe emissions, where most concepts have been tried and either implemented or considered insufficient or difficult to implement. This competition seeks to fund post tail pipe technologies.

The deadline for the competition is very pressing (5pm on 20 November) but costs can be invoiced for this current financial year.

 

Air Quality Challenges for Short term Measures to Mitigate NOx Post Tail pipe

Projects should be proof-of-concept studies around the novel application of existing research or technology. The seminar also clarified that the studies should be:

  • Feasible new research ideas.
  • Technologies with a TRL 2 to 4 are applicable
  • Collaborative or single entity.
  • The mitigation must be post tail pipe
  • Modified fuels are out of scope.

Example projects could be smart materials designed to absorb or diffuse NOx, to vehicle journey reduction, or congestion reduction concepts.

Projects should look at the following three specific NOx air challenges:

  • Landscape/Infrastructure mitigation measures on the Strategic Road Network;
  • Landscape/Infrastructure mitigation measures in the urban environment;
  • Traffic management measures to mitigate NOx.

A clean slate

According to Mark Matchett, KTN’s Knowledge Transfer Manager - Road and Automotive, “Solving this problem will impact of the health of the nation and also reduce health care costs. This is a clean slate and the DfT is asking for the collective UK thinking cap to swing into action.”

“Interestingly DfT explained that projects will be judged with an 80% weighting towards quality (and 20% on pricing) and that successful projects will need to demonstrate a clear route to implementation.”

 

Applications and Seminar number 2 this Thursday (6 November)

For more details and to download the competition document pack see the competition page Department for Transport launches £300,000 Air Quality competition seeking new concepts to mitigate NOX ‘post tail pipe’.

For those that missed the first today - the second briefing webinar DfT Nox Competition Briefing Webinar No 2 - on Thursday, 6 November 2014 from 13:45 to 14:45 (GMT) - is open for registrations.

Comments

Comments

3 people have had something to say so far

Currently both Private and Public Transport operates very inefficiently. Apply the concept of Real-Time digital data communications and it is then possible to realise maximum fleet efficiency possible, within the constraints of the random nature of customer demand. This in turn means that substantial improvements in fleet efficiency also reduces greatly fuel consumption and so all exhaust gasses. The large improvement in fleet efficiency has many other cost/ benefits, than just the reduction in exhaust gasses into the environment.
Regards John B. Leonard.
Posted on 04/11/14 02:39.
Hi John,
This competition is for post tailpipe technologies, and is typical Technology Strategy Board money wasting.

Of course we all want NOX reductions and it needs a few qualified experienced practical skilled engineers to see how the whole emissions control picture, including the measures you mention, can be addressed. And this itself is only part of the overall strategy to solve energy, pollution and climate change issues.

The Volkwagen Jetta Clean TDI has an NOX trap. This firm spends 9 billion euros a year on research and development, more than 10 times the yearly budget of the whole Technology Strategy Board. Other car firms are spending large amounts on R&D......BMW and Nissan spend around £3 billion each per year.
Johnson Mathey have an emissions control technologies division and the whole JM group spend a total of £150 million a year on research.

The technology is straightforward, to find materials which absorb nitrous/nitric oxides during a lean burn and regenerate during a rich burn to liberate nitrogen There are hundreds of scholarly articles, research papers going back 20 years, using various layers, oxides and chemical compounds along with the catalytic converter to give cleaner air at the tailpipe.

So what can we do with £25,000 ? Or even £50,000?
If the health cost of polluted air is in fact the £10 billion a year then why do we expect to spend £300,000 to save this cost?

Well for some reason this competition closes in 12 days, so it will be interesting to see the response.
Posted on 08/11/14 19:58.
Too late to do anything on this for collaboration etc...but I am sure that our TiO2 Photocatalytic Oxidation would be of great assistance - see http://www.selfclean-surfacetreatments.co.uk/airpure.html.

This is an affordable technology which has been proven to effectively rid the environment of NOx & SOx etc
Anyone wanting a sample to try...contact us through the contact page on the site or email me vpt(at)selfclean-surfacetreatments.co.uk
Posted on 16/11/14 12:35.

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