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Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Our Environment and Climate


"Thick air" in the cities

ALICE quadrocopter
The ALICE quadrocopter takes air samples that can then be further analyzed in the laboratory. In addition, it measures temperature and humidity profiles up to 1000 m altitude. (Photo: Astrid Lampert, TU Braunschweig)

Pollutants, for example from car exhaust gases such as nitrogen oxides or soot particles/fine dust, are harmful to human health, the environment and the climate. PTB ensures that measuring instruments for exhaust gas measurement or for monitoring air quality are reliable. PTB cooperates closely with the Federal Ministries of Transport and Environment and the Verification Offices of the German Federal States on the subject of traffic emissions and with the German Environment Agency, which is the German EU reference laboratory for air pollution monitoring, on the subject of environmental pollution. The Directive on Ambient Air Quality and Cleaner Air in Europe (2008/50/EC) stipulates the monitoring of priority air pollutants in Europe. As new pollutants that are classified as priority substances or as limit values (e.g. for NOx, CO or fine dust) are defined more strictly, PTB is constantly faced with new metrological challenges. For example, it is involved in the "MessBAR" project, which is financed by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The basic idea behind this project is that determining the vertical distribution of pollutants is currently a very time-consuming and laborious process. However, it plays an important role in the transport and distribution of particles and other air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide. In order to improve predictions, validate transport models and verify measures for pollutant reduction, TU Braunschweig, PTB, the German Environment Agency and other partner organizations are developing and validating in MessBAR a flying, drone-based measurement system. Three quadrocopters will be equipped with miniaturized sensor technology for fine dust, soot, nitrogen oxides and ozone and are designed to determine the spatially resolved 3D pollution levels in and around cities and conurbations up to a height of one kilometer.  

Participating department

Opens internal link in current window3.4 Analytical Chemistry of the Gas Phase