• New petrol engines 'cause more air pollution'
    New petrol engines create higher levels of particles, which have health implications

Air Clean Up

New petrol engines 'cause more air pollution'

Nov 27 2013

New types of petrol engines are more damaging in terms of air pollution than traditional designs, according to new research. It has been found that new generation engines can release around 1,000 times more particles that can be damaging to human health and detrimental to air quality levels.

According to a European Commission research paper suggests that gasoline direct injection (GDI) petrol engines will make up the majority of new cars that are sold throughout Europe by 2020. They have been embraced by the car making industry as a way of achieving lower emissions, which is a big focus as countries undertake processes aimed at stalling climate change.

However, a study that was seen by the Financial Times, written by TUV Nord, an independent technical research institute, has found that this new type of engine may not be as beneficial to the fight against air pollution as previously thought. According to the study, GDI engines release approximately 1,000 times more harmful particles - as classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) - than older forms of petrol engines. 

The particles, including carcinogens, contribute to reduced air quality levels and can have impacts on human health.

GDI engines were also found to release ten times more potentially harmful particles than new diesel engines. According to the News reporter, these increased levels are due to the fact that the engines have a higher cylinder pressure, which is aimed at reducing emissions. However, while this may keep emission levels down, the extra pressure results in a higher level of particles being produced.

Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at Transport and Environment, a think-tank based in Brussels, told the Financial Times: “Cars are the largest source of air pollution in Europe’s cities and 90 per cent of European citizens are already exposed to harmful levels of particle pollution. 

“More fuel-efficient, lower-CO2, GDI engines would be a great innovation if they did not emit harmful particles. These particles can be eliminated for the price of a hands-free kit.”


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