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Pollution Control Systems

The passive control of air pollution in the urban environment

Pedestrian exposure to air pollutants in urban microenvironments is detrimental to human health as pollutants become trapped within the boundaries of urban canyons. Research studies have adopted a combined modelling and measurement approach to investigate the dispersion of pollutant emissions in channelled urban canyons. The source of urban pollution is dominated by vehicle emissions and these pollutants are concentrated along the street surface, posing a high risk to the urban pedestrian. In this research, the investigation of passive controls will expand the viable options available to urban planners for improving pedestrian health.

Air pollution in the urban environment

The research will be carried out as a series of modelling studies using CFD software Fluent 6.3. The reduction of pollutants requires the implementation of a passive control in a canyon to improve dispersion. Passive controls influences air flow patterns in a street canyon and has many different forms, such as low boundary walls (LBWs) or avenue trees. This research will examine further passive control forms, such as on-street car parking and further assess the ability of passive control in different street conditions i.e. at junctions and in asymmetric canyons. A calibrated model of Pearse Street in Dublin will be developed, which combines the knowledge gained from each of the model studies and validates passive controls in a real-time scenario. (YouTube)

Project coordinators: Associate Prof. Aonghus McNabola & Prof. Laurence Gill



iSCAPE (Improving the Smart Control of Air Pollution in Europe)

The iSCAPE project aims to integrate and advance the control of air quality and carbon emissions in European cities in the context of climate change through the development of sustainable and passive air pollution remediation strategies, policy interventions and behavioural change initiatives. It will tackle the problem of reducing air pollution at target receptors with an innovative SME-led approach, focusing on the use of "Passive Control Systems" in urban spaces. Improvements in air quality, microclimate and behavioural aspects of urban dwellers will be achieved by applying real-world physical interventions on the urban tissue to alter ventilation rates and dispersion patterns in the selected cities assessed for future climate change scenarios and representative of different cultural & life styles in Europe.

Through the approach of Living Labs the team will deploy a network of air quality and meteorological sensors (both stationary and mobile) and evaluate through analysis and a suite of up-to-date numerical modelling the benefits expected from the interventions on a neighbourhood and city-wide scale for several aspects ranging from quantification of pollutant concentration to exposure. iSCAPE encapsulates the concept of "smart cities" by promoting the use of low-cost sensors, engaging citizens in the use of alternative solution processes to environmental problems. iSCAPE will support sustainable urban development by promoting the sharing of results with policy-makers and planners using local test-cases, and providing scientific evidence ready-to-use solutions potentially leading to real-time operational interventions.

This integrated approach will include the development and assessment of a framework aimed at changing the mobility behaviour of people by studying processes and dynamics that lead to more resilient, healthy, and sustainable cities, by bringing together theory from urban planning, public policy, urban and environmental sociology and urban geography.

Project coordinators: Associate Prof. Aonghus McNabola, Prof. Brian Broderick & Assistant Prof. John Gallagher