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Old December 9th, 2018, 10:09   #16
wxman
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Originally Posted by eddie_1 View Post
...More recently it has been found that NOx values are too high in many of the big cities and these values violate the EU directives on allowable levels....
Do you have any idea why the EU decided to adopt the WHO "Air Quality Guidelines" as the regulated ambient limit for NO2, but not for any of the other regulated air pollutants? The regulated ambient air quality limit for NO2 is 40 micrograms/m3 in Europe. That is more than twice as restrictive as the NO2 NAAQS in the U.S. (53 ppb which is about 100 micrograms/m3). If the EU had adopted the WHO AQGs for the other regulated pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, O3, BaP, and SO2), NO2 would be the least problematic of all the regulated pollutants according to the latest European Environmental Agency's "Air Quality in Europe - 2018 Report" (EEA Report No 12/2018).

According to Figure 6.1 of that report, none of Europe's NO2 monitors would exceed the U.S. NAAQS for NO2 (looks like a few NO2 monitors in Turkey may exceed the U.S. standard).

The USEPA recently (April 2018) re-evaluated the adequacy of the annual NO2 NAAQS, and kept it at 53 ppb ( https://www.epa.gov/no2-pollution/pr...trogen-dioxide ).
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Old December 9th, 2018, 14:23   #17
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Do you have any idea why the EU decided to adopt the WHO "Air Quality Guidelines" as the regulated ambient limit for NO2, but not for any of the other regulated air pollutants? The regulated ambient air quality limit for NO2 is 40 micrograms/m3 in Europe. That is more than twice as restrictive as the NO2 NAAQS in the U.S. (53 ppb which is about 100 micrograms/m3). If the EU had adopted the WHO AQGs for the other regulated pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, O3, BaP, and SO2), NO2 would be the least problematic of all the regulated pollutants according to the latest European Environmental Agency's "Air Quality in Europe - 2018 Report" (EEA Report No 12/2018).
According to Figure 6.1 of that report, none of Europe's NO2 monitors would exceed the U.S. NAAQS for NO2 (looks like a few NO2 monitors in Turkey may exceed the U.S. standard).
The USEPA recently (April 2018) re-evaluated the adequacy of the annual NO2 NAAQS, and kept it at 53 ppb ( https://www.epa.gov/no2-pollution/pr...trogen-dioxide ).
Hi, thanks for the question. I am by no means an expert but from what I can gather the background to this is that the NOx annual mean outdoor 40 μg/m3 limit was adopted by the EU Member States in 1999 with the anticipation that by 2010 the limit would be achievable. The thinking back then was that Diesels would not be selling like donuts with time, which proved to be otherwise. Since 2010 there have been alot more reports and studies about the health effects of NOx coming out. This has put more focus on NOx. How serious the issue is nevertheless difficult to discern. You are right about these limits being very tight in comparison to EPA limits. With all this focus on diesel bans, a discussion started about why the limits for the workplace was much looser. These limits are not EU regulated but still recommended 60μg/m3 for office buildings and 950μg/m3!! for industrial workplaces. The focus on NOx is like kind of a 'souce of all evils' approach. The thinking is that if they can hit NOx, it will automatically hit particulates and other emissions. These violations are occuring everywhere in the EU I am pretty sure. Germany tends to be pedantic about these things like many other things and the Greens have more power to implement things. In France I noticed the cars to be smelling much more, because these DPFs etc. clog up after a while and people just remove them and they probably did a 'better' job with their sensor installations. Except Paris is to eliminate all diesels in 2020.

Here is a translated link from the German Federal Environmental Agency explaining the current situation:
https://tinyurl.com/y8l748te
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Old December 9th, 2018, 17:22   #18
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Thank you for the explanation.

It still seems quite perplexing that the EU would rely on WHO so completely for annual ambient NO2 exposure, but doesn't seem to rely on WHO at all for ambient PM2.5 exposure (and all other regulated pollutants for that matter). The EU annual ambient limit for PM2.5 is 25 μg/m3, while the WHO guideline is 10 μg/m3. The U.S. annual ambient PM2.5 exposure limit is 12 μg/m3.
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Old December 10th, 2018, 01:58   #19
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I think ultimately this has to do with the way the EU works. There is always this dilemma as to what the EU should be regulating and what member states should be regulating themselves. Espeicially on something like emissions, which is not such a big interaction of states related issue - unlike on trade where there are endless amounts of regulations. The EU is very mindful of not wanting to over-reach. The EPA on the other hand has a free reign for the US. I am not sure of the details but I could imagine back then the issue of diesel pollution came up and a NOx value was something all 28 members could rally around. Everything has to be ratified by all 28 countries, soon to be possibly 27.

This brings up a good point though because there is now a lot of discussion about the TSI direct injection engines producing significant amounts of PM and how come they are getting a free pass. Gasoline PM is discussed to be much finer and potentially even more damaging through its higher level of dispersion. Practically every car on the road in Germany now is either a TDI or a TSI.
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Old December 10th, 2018, 05:13   #20
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Thanks for the explanation eddie. Discouraging as it may seem, this appears to be more about politics and money than clean air. Of course things aren't any different here. It'll be interesting to watch this play out, but it probably isn't predictive of anything that may happen here.
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Old December 10th, 2018, 05:15   #21
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Politics and money, for sure. Clean air not so much. This is why our 50 MPG TDIs have been made illegal, but 15 MPG Suburbans are perfectly fine.

I do not feel much of the EU's policies will spill over here. They have enough of their own problems.
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Old December 10th, 2018, 11:11   #22
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Right, you guys figured out what is going on. As you say, where things will go from here is hard to say. Already alot of damage has been done. Because of all the politics and uncertainty people have already started to panic somewhat. The price of used Euro4 or even Euro5 diesels has tanked. People have started to make use of the 'cash for clunkers' offers and hand in their cars (even high end Audis etc.) in almost pristine condition to be junked. Even the junk yard guys are sad, although it is a windfall for them. Most times parts are then sent off to eastern europe etc. With repurchase folks often then go for a TSI not an Euro6 TDI because they don't now trust the diesel politics. Others (like us) say they will just keep driving them as long as possible and where possible. Possible scenarios:
1) The hardware solution becomes legit. The govt. finds a way to implement/finance the Euro4/5 to Euro 6 conversion. This is the fairest way forward. Interstingly, the leader of the Federal Green party Cem Özdemir supports this. (Only guy in the entire govt. that speaks sense to me. He doesn't want to see the little guy screwed.) Even if we had to pay for it ourselves this would be cheaper and less wasteful than junking nice cars.
2) The industry gets its way and the little guy gets squeezed between industry interests and increasing city bans and has to buy new cars.
3) Premature killing of diesel and icb due to electro-hype. The German car manufacturers have now also started making noises to this effect to become electro by mid 2020s. This one is like a holy grail or illusion thing, where suddenly all on offer in a few years are electric cars and they need to dig up half of Africa to make the batteries. This one is hard to say how it will pan out because you are talking of complete industry supply chain change, infrastructure change (Germany is behind even on charging stations), lot of issues like range not sorted out, could still end up being a dead end. (My view).

Hopefully cool heads will prevail and reasonable solutions can be found on both sides of the atlantic.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 19:51   #23
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@eddie_1, thank you for a very lucid explanation of all the factors involved in this issue.
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Old December 16th, 2018, 01:56   #24
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@eddie_1, thank you for a very lucid explanation of all the factors involved in this issue.
You're welcome Steve!

In summary I think what happened with VW in the US did have an impact on the destiny of diesels in Europe. For a long time everyone (car manufacturers, govt., emissions testing) in Europe sort of knew that the real world emissions of the cars were not in line with the Euro norms. This inconsistency became second nature as diesel became kind of too big to fail. But it was to some extent a slippery slope. I think this was the background from which the software manipulation occured. It was a mindset of taking the standards with a pinch of salt. At this point the new CEO Winterkorn took over from Piech and his goal was to compete with Hyundai. The focus changed, the new cars cut corners and then the deliberate step to manipualte the software was kind of a natural progression. But the fact that they did this in the US with the well known implications of the law I still find mind boggling. Also after years of struggling to meet standards there.

Well the consequences of what happened caused a real jolt on this side of the atlantic. Perhaps there would have been more focus on diesel anyway with time due to various other emission factors but suddenly it is an issue which is on the table on a daily basis and has become a wind in the sails of electrification.

I thought about it a bit more and I think from the 3) variants of how things will pan out I listed above, the challenge is to say how quickly things will change. But the trend is there and the opposition to diesel is growing and the situation now reminds me a bit of how regulation prevented many diesels from coming to the US. Hopefully in the end there will be a good short term, medium term and long term solution. I would say final decisions do tend to be a bit less political here.

I will end with this pic that was doing the rounds here.

Diesel: 'I feel so dirty'
Electric: 'I feel so clean'

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Old December 16th, 2018, 19:31   #25
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I will end with this pic that was doing the rounds here.

Diesel: 'I feel so dirty'
Electric: 'I feel so clean'

Wind and solar are already growing ~20x faster than new EVs can consume it... just curious as to how big that ratio needs to grow before we can agree this argument is nonsense.

There's also the minor fact that EVs help clean the grid by buffering intermittent wind and solar.

'Yall wasted ~4000GWh of wind in 2017 because it had no where to go! That could have powered ~1M EVs. Germany only has <200k.....

Maybe add ~800k EVs and waste less clean energy

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Old December 16th, 2018, 19:58   #26
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Wind and solar are already growing ~20x faster than new EVs can consume it...
I think this year electricity from renewable sources finally surpassed coal power (lignite and anthracite) in Germany for the first time. And at the current rate of renewable energy growth, coal power could be eliminated entirely in a couple of years. That's progress.

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news...ord-level-2018

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Old December 17th, 2018, 07:57   #27
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Default Balancing air pollutants and GHG

Great recent exchanges on the topic of NO2 vs other local air pollutant (volatile organic compounds come to mind)! Thank you eddie_1 and wxman so much for taking the time and resources to patiently educate us on the fine points of a topic that, to say the least, perplexing and/or unknown to the general population (and even in dedicated forums such as TDIClub): the challenges in balancing air pollutants and GHG in gasoline and diesel vehicles such as CO, CO2, NO2 and VOcs.

The whole discussion remind me of this photo!



Having said that, and in my humble opinion, the transition to EVs in the next decade and beyond will be relatively faster in places like Western Europe, Japan, China and South Korea as compared to North America. In the US, in particular, low fuel cost is the main factor for delaying such transition for private passenger cars.
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Old December 17th, 2018, 09:23   #28
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Having said that, and in my humble opinion, the transition to EVs in the next decade and beyond will be relatively faster in places like Western Europe, Japan, China and South Korea as compared to North America. In the US, in particular, low fuel cost is the main factor for delaying such transition for private passenger cars.
I agree, but for slight different reasons. In North America, especially the western half, travel distances can often exceed the abilities of virtually all currently available EVs. Seattle to the nearest major metropolitan area (Portland) is reachable, but that's about it. Vancouver BC would be questionable, because of potentially long delays at the border. Spokane to the east is close to 300 miles. Nothing but a Tesla currently has that range.

And I can't even reach the California border, let alone actually make it to a major city, with any current EV. All of these can be reached with a gas powered car with no more than a 5 minute stop for fuel. And my former Passat TDI would have made it to San Francisco without stopping.

Of course, the argument can be made (and accurately) that the majority of people don't drive those kind of distances with regularity. For me, the longest distance that I might travel in a day is to go to my parents home. It's about 140 miles round trip, so there are EVs that can satisfy that distance. Can't charge at their place, so would need enough range for the round trip.

Yesterday I drove about 130 miles, all just on errands. A bit higher than my typical weekend day, but still common enough. So for me, I need (want) an EV with at least 200 real world mile range, meaning the heat or AC is running at maximum and typical traffic levels. VW might have one coming in the next year or so, so we'll just wait and see. I don't care for the Bolt, the Niro EV might not be large enough, and Tesla is more than I want to pay.
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Old December 17th, 2018, 10:17   #29
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As I mentioned earlier the infrastructure in Germany is still way behind. The current grid cannot deliver the power. If a reasonable number of people plug in their cars right now the system will collapse. I saw the new electric Porsche wanting to do 300KW charging to halve the time of the Tesla S. I don't see any major moves to start with infra-structure so far. The state I live in Lower Saxony is 1/3 owner of VW so maybe they will start on the path at some point. Also at the moment they are balancing peak demand with coal vs wind. Also they like to sell the idea of being nuclear free and buy nuclear from France and CZ. The reason is due to non emission electricity that does not incur a CO2 penalty.

I am still sceptical about swapping out one source of energy for another with massive industrialization in order to solve all the environmental issues in the context of globalization.
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Old December 17th, 2018, 15:35   #30
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As I mentioned earlier the infrastructure in Germany is still way behind. The current grid cannot deliver the power. If a reasonable number of people plug in their cars right now the system will collapse.
There's >40GWh of capacity available off-peak everyday. The average daily round-trip commute is ~34km which would require ~7kWh of energy. So the German grid without any upgrades can easily support >5M EVs. Vastly more with smart charging.

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