Vasileios Matthaios

University of Birmingham


Direct Measurement of On-Road Vehicle Emissions in the UK : Implications for Air Quality


Prof. William Bloss, Dr. Francis Pope, Dr. James Lee

PhD Summary

During my PhD project I will undertake air quality measurements (NO, NO2, NOy, HONO, CO2 and aerosol particles) in order to update the outdated vehicle emissions in the UK. The field campaign can be separated into three main categories 1) Stationary observations by the roadside and in tunnels 2) Chase measurements using an on-road mobile observatory and 3) Flux measurements of integrated emissions of species from a wider urban area. By acquiring the above dataset, (a) I will be able to investigate and identify the urban and roadside increment in pollutant levels from urban (predominantly traffic) emissions, for measurements in ambient air and (b) explore the exhaust treatments and effects of individual engine types of vehicles. Such emissions can provide an update emission inventory in literature for urban modelling. Furthermore, it will help us understand better the exact contribution of vehicles on the air pollution levels. Finally, I am going to implement some future modelling scenarios in order to assess the impacts of revised emission factors (based upon present-day and predicted future behaviour) upon urban air quality, which will be beneficial for local or national bodies, with the aim of improving their urban planning.

What inspires you?

When I was a child a saw a cloud “climbing” a mountain and after a few moments it disappeared. This phenomenon is due to anabatic winds, but it was so weird at that time, that practically triggered my curiosity.

Previous Activity

I studied in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Pollution Control at the Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia, Greece where I graduated as an Environmental Engineer with an expertise particularly for air pollution. In 2013 I received an MSc degree in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Ioannina. From 1/3/2011 to 31/11/2014 I worked as a researcher on two funded research projects investigating 1) The air pollution in a heavily industrialized area -Investigation concerning the problems’ anatomy. 2) The quantification of the contribution of lignite open pit mines in emissions – concentrations of PM10, from the current and planned activities, in sources and receptors. My main interests at that time were air quality and source attribution, air quality modelling (micro, meso, macro-scale), extreme weather events and their impact on air pollution.

Why did you choose Docotoral Research?

I have decided to do Doctoral Research because, firstly, I love what I do, and, secondly, I think that during a Doctoral research project, one will gain further and in depth experience and may have the opportunity to contribute a tiny stone to this enormous structure called Science.

Why did you choose a CENTA Studentship?

CENTA gives the opportunity to each PhD candidate via its training to strengthen some key specific areas, and this training practically helps the candidate 1) to develop his/her way of thinking, 2) to improve as a scientist in general.

What are your future plans

Studying here will definitely benefit me as a person, because I will not only be more precise and responsible but also I will have the opportunity to broaden my horizons (via potential collaboration) and see things from a different perspective. In the future I aim to “marry” different aspects of science, hopefully as a Post-Doc, in order to deal with some core issues of our time, such as, climate change, healthier environment or cancer.