Air pollution; we may not always see it, but we all too often see its effects. The World Health Organisation (WHO) cites polluted air as the single largest environmental health risk in Europe and a major cause of premature death and disease. The pollutants that enter ambient air via tailpipes, chimney stacks and countless other sources also disrupt delicate terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, contribute to climate change and literally corrode cultural history.
Thankfully, in recent years, international organisations, national and local governments and NGOs the world over have taken measures to reduce air pollutant emissions. At a European level, several pieces of legislation now set strict emissions standards across various sectors. As a result, the scope for testing emissions is ever-widening. For a company that provides the specialty gases required for testing, that spells opportunity.
The legislative landscape
Compliance with this legislation relies on accurate measurement during emissions tests. It goes without saying that to measure anything accurately, there must be a reference standard: and that’s what Linde’s HiQ® brand provides. Known as calibration gases, these specialty gases are the certified reference standards used to calibrate the emissions testing instrumentation.
“The legislative landscape for emissions testing is evolving and changing,” explains Roberto Parola, Global Product Manager for Linde’s HiQ® Specialty Gases & Equipment. “Whether that’s a volume increase due to a wider testing scope or new product requirements due to changing specifications, each change represents a business opportunity for us.”
Much of that business has come directly from the transport sector. Since fuel combustion is the main source of many primary pollutants such as Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulphur Oxides (SOx), Hydrocarbons (HC), Particulate Matter (PM) and Carbon Monoxide (CO), this is where the finger of blame has been pointing for some time.
Diesel car engines for example, while they emit less carbon dioxide than their petrol counterparts, release more NOx and PM into the air that we breathe. To combat this, the European Union has set strict emission standards for road transport vehicles. Euro 6, for example, introduced Real Driving Emission (RDE) testing. Effective as of 2019, this regulation may be the latest iteration, but is unlikely to be the last.