Exhaust emissions of semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC) from passenger vehicles are usually estimated only for the particle phase via the total particulate matter measurements. However, they also need to be estimated for the gas phase, as they are semi-volatile. To better estimate SVOC emission factors of passenger vehicles, a measurement campaign using a chassis dynamometer was conducted with different instruments: (1) a constant volume sampling (CVS) system in which emissions were diluted with filtered air and sampling was performed on filters and polyurethane foams (PUF) and (2) a Dekati Fine Particle Sampler (FPS) in which emissions were diluted with purified air and sampled with on-line instruments (PTR-ToF-MS, HR-ToF-AMS, MAAP, CPC). Significant differences in the concentrations of organic carbon (OC) measured by the instruments are observed. The differences can be explained by sampling artefacts, differences between (1) the time elapsed during sampling (in the case of filter and PUF sampling) and (2) the time elapsed from emission to measurement (in the case of on-line instruments), which vary from a few seconds to 15 min, and by the different dilution factors. To relate elapsed times and measured concentrations of OC, the condensation of SVOC between the gas and particle phases is simulated with a dynamic aerosol model. The simulation results allow us to understand the relation between elapsed times and concentrations in the gas and particle phases. They indicate that the characteristic times to reach thermodynamic equilibrium between gas and particle phases may be as long as 8 min. Therefore, if the elapsed time is less than this characteristic time to reach equilibrium, gas-phase SVOC are not at equilibrium with the particle phase and a larger fraction of emitted SVOC will be in the gas phase than estimated by equilibrium theory, leading to an underestimation of emitted OC if only the particle phase is considered or if the gas-phase SVOC are estimated by equilibrium theory. Current European emission inventories for passenger cars do not yet estimate gas-phase SVOC emissions, although they may represent 60% of total emitted SVOC (gas + particle phases).
Kim, Y., Sartelet, K., Seigneur, C., Charron, A., Besombes, J. L., Jaffrezo, J. L., … Polo, L. (2016). Effect of measurement protocol on organic aerosol measurements of exhaust emissions from gasoline and diesel vehicles. Atmospheric Environment, 140, 176–187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2016.05.045