Allen Robinson: Vehicle Emissions: Effects on Air Quality

Allen Robinson: Vehicle Emissions: Effects on Air Quality


My name is Allen Robinson.
I’m a faculty member here at Carnegie Mellon.
I’m a faculty member in mechanical engineering
and engineering and public policy.
My research investigates environmental impacts
of energy systems, focusing on air quality.
One of my current thrusts is focused on better
understanding the impacts of car and truck
emissions on urban air quality.
The air quality benefits from these regulations
have been less than anticipated.
This points to gaps in our understanding.
We run cars on something called a dynamometer,
which is a treadmill for a vehicle.
And it’s pretty incredible when you see a
big, heavy-duty diesel truck going 80 miles
an hour on a treadmill.
It’s a little scary actually.
Then, what we do is we sample these emissions
into what’s called a smog chamber which is
essentially an environmental chamber where
we can study their atmospheric evolution.
And then we expose those emissions to sunlight
and study how those emissions evolve in the
atmosphere and essentially what happens to
those particles.
These experiments have demonstrated that,
in the atmosphere, there’s substantial production
of new fine particle mass.
Essentially, gaseous emissions from the vehicles
are being oxidized in the atmosphere and creating
new particles.
The amount of new particle mass can be 10
times greater than what’s coming directly
out of the tail pipe.
This has really been a change in our understanding
of how emissions from vehicles impact air
quality.
We’re currently working with scientists at
EPA to implement this new understanding we’ve
developed in these large models that they
use for doing regulatory assessments.
The goal is if we have a better understanding
of how those emissions are transformed in
the atmosphere, the models will point us to
more effective regulations.

One Reply to “Allen Robinson: Vehicle Emissions: Effects on Air Quality”

  1. This guy is an NFL stud. I love to watch his physicality and the big plays he always makes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *