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Are clean air cities a near reality?

Contributor: Matthew Pencharz |
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As London braces itself for the introduction of the T-Charge on 23rd October, and Oxford City Council makes plans to create the world’s first Zero Emission Zone by banning petrol and diesel vehicles from its city centre by 2020, the battle against air pollution is making significant strides forward. Comment Matthew Pencharz Business to Government lead – Air.Car project for Tantalum.

We’re urging businesses to be part of this drive for change by taking part in the ground-breaking Air.Car initiative, as the countdown to its launch beings in earnest.  The trial is part of Tantalum’s development of a way to accurately estimate NOx emissions, in real-time, a crucial part in the quest to tackle air pollution. Joining the Air.Car trial offers firms with a strong Corporate Social Responsibility commitment a chance to send a clear message to their employees, stakeholders and the community. Over the six months, participating businesses will be contributing to ground breaking research, backed by Imperial College London, leading to a reduction in air pollution and improving public health.

Earlier this year, Tantalum was awarded funding by Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles to develop Air.Car, a solution to estimate accurately real-time NOx emissions and help businesses drive down these emissions. Companies are being recruited from the public and commercial sectors as part of its trial, which will run within London and other UK cities where Clean Air Zones are to be established.

NOx emissions lead to NO2, a poisonous gas that irritates the lungs and affects children’s lung development.  Earlier this year, the Government published an action plan to reduce these emissions from transport, stating that there could be up to 27 Clean Air Zones in England, with Oxford already declaring 2020 as the start of a ban on petrol and diesel cars and HGV bans planned for 2035. In addition, London mayor Sadiq Khan has pushed air pollution in the city up the agenda, with the T-Charge coming into effect on 23rd October. This will see drivers of heavily pollution vehicles forced to pay £21.50 per day to drive in the city centre during peak hours.

The Air.Car trial is a major part of the overall project. Companies which take part in the trial will play a vital role in testing and fine tuning the solution. Air.Car participation will be a quantifiable enhancement to any business’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, helping them to reduce their environmental impact. World-leading engineering university Imperial College London will assist in developing and verifying the technology to accurately estimate NOx emissions.

Dr Marc Stettler from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London said, “Air.Car will deliver rich data sets, which will play a key role in helping the government understand the relationship between congestion, vehicle types and air pollution. All of this data will help organisations create effective plans for cleaner, smarter and healthier cities.

Matthew Pencharz Business to Government lead on the Air.Car project for Tantalum adds, “It is our belief that companies, local authorities and the public all want to help clean up the air we breathe. Towns and cities across the UK have dangerous levels of NO2, significantly over legally allowed limits, and increasing urbanisation and congestion are only set to magnify this problem. “Take up for the trial has been very strong, with organisations from leasing, local government and higher education already signing up to participate. We have also had interest from independent businesses and are looking forward to more coming on board to make a real difference.”

Registration ends in January 2018, with the trial going live in February 2018.

www.tantalumcorporation.com/air-car/