Engineering lab deploys mobile air pollution laboratory

Research Excellence | Strategy 9: Knowledge Exchange
Theme: Innovation
Assistant Prof. Naomi Zimmerman with members of her lab: (L-R) Stefan Colbow, postdoctoral fellow Dr. Surya Dhulipala, Rachel Habermehl and Mrinmoy Chakraborty | Photo credit: Paul Joseph/UBC Mechanical Engineering

An “air pollution lab on wheels”, PLUME will be used to measure concentrations of air pollutants across the city including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ground-level ozone, black carbon, methane, volatile organic compounds, and various sizes of ultrafine particles that can affect air quality.

PLUME, which stands for Portable Laboratory for Understanding Human-Made Emissions was developed by Dr. Naomi Zimmerman, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering who studies air quality and its impacts on health and the environment.

Dr. Zimmerman’s team at IREACH lab will use air quality data collected by the van to build a map of the city, showing how levels of pollution components change over time.

“Using a mobile laboratory rather than fixed air quality sensors means we can cover a greater distance,” says Zimmerman. “We can sample anywhere from highways, to by the ocean, to the middle of a field with the same instrumentation in a single day. The instruments in the van can collect data as often as every second.”

Please visit the Applied Sciences website to read the full story.

Through Strategy 9: Knowledge Exchange, UBC is committed to improving the university ecosystem and supporting the translation of research into action.