On-road ammonia emissions characterized by mobile, open-path measurements

Kang Sun, Lei Tao, David J. Miller, M. Amir Khan, Mark Andrew Zondlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Ammonia (NH3) is a key precursor species to atmospheric fine particulate matter with strong implications for regional air quality and global climate change. NH3 from vehicles accounts for a significant fraction of total emissions of NH3 in urban areas. A mobile platform is developed to measure NH3, CO, and CO2 from the top of a passenger car the mobile platform conducted 87 h of on-road measurements, covering 4500 km in New Jersey and California the average on-road emission factor (EF) in CA is 0.49 ± 0.06 g NH3 per kg fuel and agrees with previous studies in CA (0.3-0.8 g/kg) the mean on-road NH3:CO emission ratio is 0.029 ± 0.005, and there is no systematic difference between NJ and CA. On-road NH3 EFs increase with road gradient by an enhancement of 53 mg/kg fuel per percentage of gradient. On-road NH3 EFs show higher values in both stop-and-go driving conditions and freeway speeds with a minimum near 70 km/h. Consistent with prior studies, the on-road emission ratios suggest a highly skewed distribution of NH3 emitters. Comparisons with existing NJ and CA on-road emission inventories indicate that there may be an underestimation of on-road NH3 emissions in both NJ and CA. We demonstrate that mobile, open-path measurements provide a unique tool to help quantitatively understand the on-road NH3 emissions in urban and suburban settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3943-3950
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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