Emissions variation in urban areas resulting from the introduction of natural gas vehicles: application to Barcelona and Madrid greater areas (Spain).Sci Total Environ. 2009 May 01; 407(10):3269-81.ST
On-road traffic is the major contributor to pollutant emissions in urban areas. Nowadays different emission abatement strategies are being tested in order to improve urban air quality (e.g. the European Commission currently promotes the use of natural gas as an alternative fuel). Several feasible scenarios regarding the introduction of natural gas vehicles (NGV) are studied in the two main cities of Spain (Barcelona and Madrid) by using the HERMES emission model. The most suitable emission factors to NGV are selected among those available in the literature. The account of emissions in the base case scenario estimated for a typical summertime polluted day of the year 2004 reflects that in Barcelona 86% of primary pollutants come from on-road traffic compared to 93% in Madrid, because of the heavier industrial activity in the former. The introduction of NGV in urban zones would have a positive effect on emissions, whose extent largely depends on the substituted fleets and the conurbation characteristics. Maximum reductions in NO(x) emissions in Madrid are attributed to the substitution of 10% of the oldest diesel and petrol cars, while in Barcelona the change of 50% of the oldest commercial light vehicles becomes more effective. PM(2.5) and SO(2) emissions can be significatively reduced with the introduction of NGV instead of the oldest commercial light vehicles. The substitution of conventional fuels by natural gas must reach around 4% to achieve significative reductions in traffic emissions (larger than 5%). This work focuses on air quality issues, therefore GHG emissions are not included, nevertheless this kind of associated impact has to be considered by the decision makers. Assessing the efficacy of environmental improvement strategies entails a realistic design of emission scenarios and their evaluation. The detailed emission account provides a fundamental basis for the air quality modelling and its comparison among scenarios.