Logo of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Our Environment and Climate


What comes out of the exhaust pipe?

PTB laboratory building
The new PTB laboratory building for the type examination of automotive exhaust gas measuring instruments

The Diesel scandal, nitrogen oxide limits, driving bans in German city centers – all these topics are currently causing a lot of discussion. PTB monitors pollutants in vehicle exhaust gases on behalf of lawmakers, carries out conformity tests for exhaust and particle measuring instruments and calibrates measuring instruments as well as transfer standards for verification authorities and testing institutions. One focus of PTB's work is the development of primary and secondary particle number standards to ensure the traceability of (nano-)particle number measurements to internationally recognized standards. In the near future, the traceable measurement of the particle number concentration in the exhaust emission test (AU) will be required by law; for this purpose, PTB is building several aerosol research and testing laboratories. The traceable measurement of nitrogen oxides is also being discussed intensely by lawmakers. PTB is therefore also preparing for the introduction of a NOx-AU (exhaust emission test for nitrogen oxide). In addition, it is conducting research on an improved traceability in mobile emission measurements (RDE, PEMS) within the framework of manufacturer vehicle approvals. Exhaust gas measurements that measure limit values reliably (i.e. traceably to the SI) and comply with the necessary specifications, even in everyday driving or car repair centers, are indispensable for the AU (the bi-annual national exhaust emission test) and, in the future, for vehicle type approval. PTB accounts for this as the initiator/coordinator of European metrology research projects such as "PartEmission", "Autopart" or Opens external link in new window„METROPEMS“

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