Cleaning air from particulate and gaseous impurities is becoming more and more important especially in urban environments. People travelling in vehicles (buses, taxis, cars, trains, etc.) are exposed to high impurity concentrations that are often higher than under outdoor conditions, as has been shown by different studies.
Traffic, atmospheric conditions, lifestyle and anthropogenic activities debase in-vehicle air quality and may affect driver lucidity and passenger comfort and health. Poor air quality leads to fatigue, eye problems and even respiratory disorders particularly for asthmatic or ageing people.
Several surveys show that reaction capacities can be diminished by as much as 18% because of poor air quality and accident risks increase. In the case of professional drivers, polluted air causes uncomfortable and unhealthy working conditions. Recent epidemiological studies conclude that professional drivers face a higher risk of lung or bladder cancer.
The objectives of the project are to obtain common air quality criteria and develop an innovative, efficient, cost effective and modular air management system, able to purify cabin environments from gaseous pollutants (volatile organic compounds, CO, ozone, odours, etc.) and fine aerosol particles (fines from exhaust gas, microbiological contaminants, tobacco smokes). This will help to preserve the European citizen's health and safety against air pollutant exposure risks, insuring a friendly and comfortable environment in vehicles, and moreover improving the competitiveness of European industry.
The technological approach concerns all kinds of passenger cabins, such as those of automobiles, buses, trucks, agriculture vehicles, rail vehicles and aircraft. However, specific prototypes will be first tested in automotive cabins where they are expected to have the most significant impact on quality of life for the citizen and on economic growth for European industry.
The work programme of this proposal can be divided in six steps:
- Definition of criteria for air quality control in vehicle cabins
- Development of a gaseous pollutant destruction technology
- Investigations into very fine aerosol particle removal
- Smart monitoring control and enhanced on-board air quality passenger/vehicle interactions
- Design and realization of an integrated prototype
- Assessment tests in controlled environment and on–board of vehicles.
Special work packages are also foreseen for project management and dissemination/exploitation of results.