Keywords: benzene emissions, conversion efficiency, time resolved exhaust gas analysis, chemical ionisation mass spectrometry, cold start, vehicle emissions, pollution emissions, three-way catalyst vehicles, cancer risk
The benzene problem: impact of three-way catalyst technology: potential for further improvement
Chemical ionisation mass spectrometry (CI-MS) was applied to study the benzene emission characteristics of a TWC-vehicle at a time resolution of one Hertz. Three important operating conditions with increased emissions were identified: at vehicle start; at extended stop-and-go situations; and whenever a catalyst-induced benzene formation occurs. The cold start influence was detectable for about 200 seconds of driving corresponding to a distance of 1.2 km. At hot engine/catalyst mean pre- and post-catalyst emission rates of 25–150 mg km-1 and 0.1–135 mg km-1 were determined. Catalyst conversion varied from 0.07 to >0.99. Even negative conversion efficiencies were observed at several occasions, indicating that benzene can be formed de novo in a TWC. It is of importance to lower benzene emissions at these critical operating conditions to further reduce ambient air levels in cities and with it the cancer risk for large proportions of our population.