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Open Access Publications from the University of California

On-Road Measurement of Carbonyls in California Light-Duty Vehicle Emissions


Emissions of carbonyls by motor vehicles are of concern because these species can be hazardous to human health and highly reactive in the atmosphere. The objective of this research was to measure carbonyl emission factors for California light-duty motor vehicles. Measurements were made at the entrance and exit of a San Francisco Bay area highway tunnel, in the center bore where heavy-duty trucks are not allowed. During summer 1999, approximately 100 carbonyls were identified, including saturated ahphatic aldehydes and ketones, unsaturated ahphatic carbonyls, ahphatic dicarbonyls, and aromatic carbonyls. Concentrations were measured for 32 carbonyls and were combined with NMOC, CO and CO2 concentrations to calculate by carbon balance emission factors per unit of fuel burned. The measured carbonyl mass emitted from light-duty vehicles was 68 +/- 4 mg L^-1. Formaldehyde accounted for 45% of the measured mass emissions, acetaldehyde 12%, toluadehydes 10%, benzaldehyde 7.2%, and acetone 5.9%. The ozone forming potential of the carbonyl emissions was dominated by formaldehyde (70%) and acetaldehyde (14%). Between 1994 and 1999, emission factors measured at the same tunnel for formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and benzaldehyde decreased by 45-70%. Carbonyls constituted 3.9% of total NMOC mass emissions and 5.2% of NMOC reactivity. A comparison of carbonyl emissions with gasoline composition supports previous findings that aromatic aldehyde emissions are related to aromatics in gasoline. Carbonyl concentrations in liquid gasoline were also measured. Acetone and MEK were the most abundant carbonyls in unburned gasoline, 8 other carbonyls were detected and quantified.

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