Four years after “dieselgate”, Belgium’s Scientific Public Service Institute, ISSeP, is testing a new tool for checking polluting emissions by vehicles in real driving conditions.
The mechanism, based on a system of remote sensing and cameras, is now being tested on many roads in Namur. The results will be used to guide the checks that will be made on the future testing ground in Wallonia, to be commissioned in two years in Colfontaine.
Conducted in collaboration with the VUB and UCL universities, this study is part of the PEMSWALL (Prospection of automobile engine emissions on Walloon roads) research project initiated by the ISSeP at the time of dieselgate.
In concrete terms, two modules placed on either side of the road measure vehicles’ polluting emissions (CO, CO2, NOx, CxHy, particles…) remotely and in real time. At the same time, ANPR-type cameras identify the checked vehicles. Thanks to the Vehicle Registration Department’s database, the data thus obtained can be compared to the data provided by the manufacturers.
To conduct this process in real time, ISSeP also uses a mobile laboratory mounted on a control vehicle, which passes many times per day in front of the sensors to make sure the data they supply is not truncated.
“These tests are aimed at singling out vehicles that will be checked later on the fixed testing ground to be set up in two years in Colfontaine,” says Benjamin Bergmans, scientific attaché and project leader at ISSeP. “We hope to be able to check 10,000 to 20,000 vehicles a week here in Namur, which would enable us to identify any problematic brands or models, and thus select those that need to be given priority for additional testing. Since these tests are very costly and the number of vehicles to be tested is very high, that’s of primordial importance.”
The data will eventually be centralised at the European level. Moreover, it will also be possible to slap sanctions on car manufacturers whose announced emissions do not correspond to reality.
“Today, four years after ‘dieselgate’, I am very happy to see that Wallonia is giving itself the means to measure automobile pollution more easily,” Wallonia’s Environment Minister, Celine Tellier, commented. “Preserving everyone’s health is essential.”