Articles | Volume 10, issue 23
Research article
06 Dec 2010
Research article |  | 06 Dec 2010

Impact of aftertreatment devices on primary emissions and secondary organic aerosol formation potential from in-use diesel vehicles: results from smog chamber experiments

R. Chirico, P. F. DeCarlo, M. F. Heringa, T. Tritscher, R. Richter, A. S. H. Prévôt, J. Dommen, E. Weingartner, G. Wehrle, M. Gysel, M. Laborde, and U. Baltensperger

Abstract. Diesel particulate matter (DPM) is a significant source of aerosol in urban areas and has been linked to adverse health effects. Although newer European directives have introduced increasingly stringent standards for primary PM emissions, gaseous organics emitted from diesel cars can still lead to large amounts of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) in the atmosphere. Here we present results from smog chamber investigations characterizing the primary organic aerosol (POA) and the corresponding SOA formation at atmospherically relevant concentrations for three in-use diesel vehicles with different exhaust aftertreatment systems. One vehicle lacked exhaust aftertreatment devices, one vehicle was equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and the third vehicle used both a DOC and diesel particulate filter (DPF). The experiments presented here were obtained from the vehicles at conditions representative of idle mode, and for one car in addition at a speed of 60 km/h. An Aerodyne high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) was used to measure the organic aerosol (OA) concentration and to obtain information on the chemical composition. For the conditions explored in this paper, primary aerosols from vehicles without a particulate filter consisted mainly of black carbon (BC) with a low fraction of organic matter (OM, OM/BC < 0.5), while the subsequent aging by photooxidation resulted in a consistent production of SOA only for the vehicles without a DOC and with a deactivated DOC. After 5 h of aging ~80% of the total organic aerosol was on average secondary and the estimated "emission factor" for SOA was 0.23–0.56 g/kg fuel burned. In presence of both a DOC and a DPF, only 0.01 g SOA per kg fuel burned was produced within 5 h after lights on. The mass spectra indicate that POA was mostly a non-oxidized OA with an oxygen to carbon atomic ratio (O/C) ranging from 0.10 to 0.19. Five hours of oxidation led to a more oxidized OA with an O/C range of 0.21 to 0.37.

Final-revised paper