Bus emissions test to help boost air quality

A Brighton and Hove bus is prepared for PEMS testing at the Conway Street depot
A Brighton and Hove bus is prepared for PEMS testing at the Conway Street depot

AN advanced project to investigate bus emissions is being carried out to help improve air quality.

Shoreham engineering firm Ricardo and Brighton and Hove Bus Company are working on the project to encourage a cleaner environment.

Test equipment specialist HORIBA is also involved, providing equipment to scientifically investigate the emissions of a range of buses.

Brighton and Hove buses operates a fleet of approximately 280 modern buses in Brighton, as well as Shoreham, Southwick and the Steyning area.

The company says it is committed to contributing towards a cleaner environment and all of its most-recent vehicles have been fitted with exhaust particulate traps.

Managing director Martin Harris said: “Urban air quality is an issue of concern in many towns and cities, and Brighton and Hove is keen to work with Ricardo in better understanding emissions performance from a range of buses under operating conditions.”

Growing concern over the potential health impacts of poor air quality prompted the move to establish the true emissions of industry and road vehicles in the urban environment.

The exhaust emissions of new vehicles are thoroughly tested during the development phase, but little information exists on their actual emissions when used in service.

The bus project with Ricardo will provide more detailed information, using HORIBA’s state-of-the-art test portable emissions monitoring systems (PEMS) testing equipment.

A selection of the bus fleet is being temporarily fitted with the equipment, which also records ‘real life’ fuel efficiency during normal day-to-day service.

Jon Andersson, manager of aftertreatment and chemical analyses, said: “Ricardo is pleased to lead this advanced research project, which aims to measure for the first time the true operating emissions of a modern urban bus fleet.

“We hope that this work will provide some valuable insights into the emissions of buses in Brighton and Hove, and that this information that will be of use in optimising operations to promote good local air quality.”

He said it was particularly useful to be able to test a cross-section of the bus fleet, from the oldest, which conform to Euro III level emissions regulations, up to Euro V-compliant conventional and hybrid buses.

In each case, the test vehicle will operate on a standard service route to capture a range of driving conditions and gradients.

The tests are not part of the regular timetable but, like any regular passenger service, the bus will stop frequently.

Passengers are not permitted for health and safety reasons but to replace them, the test buses will be ballasted to replicate a typical 25 per cent of capacity load.