UAE: New system to measure vehicle emissions in Abu Dhabi using latest technology

Through this non-intrusive technology, EAD will be able to accurately detect and quantify various gases being emitted from the tailpipe of automobile in real-time


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Thu 2 Feb 2023, 3:36 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Feb 2023, 3:46 PM

A new system that will detect and quantify on-road emissions measurements using laser-based remote sensing technology has been rolled out in Abu Dhabi.

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) announced on Thursday that it will begin remotely measuring vehicle emissions on the roads of Abu Dhabi using the latest innovative technology.

The project is being carried out in partnership with 4 Earth Intelligence Environmental Consultancy LLC (4EI) and Hager Environmental & Atmospheric Technologies (HEAT) of the United States.

EAD will be using HEAT’s patented NASA Spinoff remote-sensing system, EDAR (Emissions Detection and Reporting), which will detect and quantify on-road emissions measurements using its laser-based overhead detectors in real time. The testing period will last for three weeks and be conducted across six different locations in Abu Dhabi.

Through this non-intrusive technology, EAD will be able to accurately detect and quantify various gases being emitted from the tailpipe of a moving vehicle in real-time. This is in addition to identifying the vehicle license plate number, which is used only to acquire technical information of the vehicle, like brand, model, fuel type, emission standard and vehicle weight. No personal data will be used in this study.

The initiative is a part of the Integrated Air Quality Management Programme established by EAD. The initiative will establish a baseline for future policies and regulations, identify the main emitting vehicle classes and technologies, and help support the design of effective mitigation measures. The study will also establish the input data for air quality modelling, develop local air and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission factors, while enhancing academic research and innovation projects.

Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, said: “At EAD, our core mandate is ensuring the best quality of life for everyone living in Abu Dhabi and that our air quality is of the highest standards. This project is a major step in the right direction for us to contribute to Abu Dhabi government’s vision of the city being the most liveable in the world.”

She added: “We know that the transport sector contributes to pollutants in the air and we want to be scientifically certain that we have the latest research at hand to be able to make correct and well-informed decisions. This will facilitate our capability to implement the most effective policies for the greater good of the community. We are always keen to use the latest advanced technology and through remote sensing of vehicle emissions we will be able to gather real-time data without disrupting traffic.

“Using the accumulated data we will be able to devise mitigation plans and programmes so that we can reduce emissions entering the air we breathe, further improving residents’ safety and wellbeing.”

EAD will also be is partnering with three significant entities in the emirate of Abu Dhabi that include Abu Dhabi Police, Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), Integrated Transport Center (ITC) and Monitoring and Control Center (MCC). The project entails EAD remotely measuring vehicle emissions on the roads of Abu Dhabi using cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology.

Data from analysis to be used to find measures to reduce effects of air pollution

By using this advanced technology, EAD will be able to automatically process the collected data and coordinate with the concerned authorities to match the remote sensing information and data with those in the vehicle registration databases in the emirate. During the study period, detailed analysis of the data to be collected (such as emissions in kilometers traveled, vehicle type, model year, payload, etc.) will be provided, which will contribute to developing recommendations to reduce the effects of air pollution caused by vehicles.

Eng. Faisal Al Hammadi, Acting Executive Director of EAD’s Environment Quality Sector said: “We are using the most advanced technology for the remote sensing of vehicle emissions in real-time and the large amount of data we will be gathering will be extremely beneficial to us as a scientific body dedicated to research as well as to our partners specifically.

“The most importantly on a larger strategic scale this project will also assist in the development of mitigation programmes for the reduction of harmful pollutants in the air for a healthier emirate of Abu Dhabi for all of its residents.”

How remote sensing systems work

Remote sensing systems use absorption spectroscopy to non-intrusively measure pollutant concentrations in the exhaust plumes of in-use vehicles. A light source is placed above a roadway, with the instrument oriented so that the light beam produced by the source traverses the exhaust plumes of passing vehicles. Each remote sensing measurement lasts for less than one second and yields an estimate of the concentration of pollutants in the exhaust plume. Remote-sensing systems measure nitrogen monoxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), carbon dioxide (CO2), and Particulate matter (PM).


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