China develops new instrument to trace pollution sources

03:59 PM | 27 Jul, 2020
China develops new instrument to trace pollution sources
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BEIJING – Chinese researchers have developed a mobile mass spectrometer to monitor pollution sources, according to the Chinese academy of Sciences (CAS).

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a key component of the ozone and PM2.5, and tracing VOCs emission sources is important for pollution control. As the distribution and emission time of VOCs is complicated in cities, it is difficult to trace VOCs sources with conventional laboratory testing equipment or portable sensors.

Researchers from the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science under the CAS developed a monitoring instrument that can be mounted on vehicles to trace VOCs sources in real-time.

The instrument integrates proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry and the geographic information system (GIS).

It sends VOCs data and vehicle position information to the GIS software. This data shows the spatial distribution of VOCs in real-time while the vehicle platform is in motion and the VOC sources are precisely traced using the GIS.

The instrument has been used in some places including Shanghai city, and Sichuan and Fujian provinces to facilitate VOCs prevention and control.

The research was published in the journal Environmental Pollution.