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Project NEMO announces technology to remotely identify high-polluting vehicles

7 September 2021

The recently started EU project NEMO announced it is equipping a group of pilot cities with a technology to detect high-polluting vehicles, such as those with tampered emission control systems. Madrid and Valencia in Spain, Florence in Italy and Susteren in Netherlands will pilot the NEMO remote sensing technology to identify high emitters.

Researchers from the NEMO project used remote sensing devices (RSD) to scan emissions from a million vehicles at 30 sites in Madrid, Spain, and published their results over the summer. They found that just 4% of vehicles accounted for up to 41% of all air pollution from traffic.

One of the RSD instruments used in the study was OPUS Accuscan™ RSD5000 that can remotely measure CO, NO, NO2, HC and opacity at 230 nm, with the vehicle in free circulation on the roadway. The researchers have proposed a methodology to identify high emitting vehicles based on the remote NOx and/or CO emission results.

The NEMO sensing technology can identify high emitters among both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. “Today modern trucks are fitted with AdBlue tanks which reduce harmful NOx emissions, but Spanish environmental experts at the civil police force noticed that AdBlue sales nationally were falling, just when they should be going up,” said Buhigas Pérez of OPUS Remote Sensing, one of the project partners. This led to an investigation that revealed tampering with truck engines and hacking of onboard software to deactivate emission control systems and reduce operating costs.

Madrid has been the first city to adopt the NEMO emission scanning technology. The Ordenanza de Calidad del Aire regulation passed in the Spring enables the city to use sensing data to require a vehicle inspection within 30 days. Further regulations are expected in the near future.

The NEMO project is run by a consortium of 18 partners, and coordinated by Fundación CARTIF in Spain. The project has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program.

Source: NEMO project