A total of six new entities have become Associated Collaborators of the RI-URBANS project They will complement the project with data sets, technological development, and analysis of the scientific outcomes. Six institutions from Romania, Hungary, Turkey, Spain, and France have become official Associated Collaborators of RI-URBANS. They will contribute their expertise to the project’s objectives and benefit from the activities undertaken within the project. These collaborators include private companies, research centers, universities, and environmental consulting firms. This diversity of institutional profiles benefits the RI-URBANS project, as it provides long-term datasets, equipment testing, and technological development activities to maximize the impact of RI-URBANS on the European air quality policy. These collaborators also participate in the scientific outcome discussion, literature review, or communication activities. The Associated Collaborators also benefit from the activities undertaken within RI-URBANS and the network of partners and stakeholders involved in the project. RI-URBANS Associated Collaborators * Map: Scienseed. Icons: Map point icons created by FR_Media - Flaticon
First results of RI-URBANS are presented at the international symposium on Ultrafine Particles in Brussels
RI-URBANS' preliminary results have been presented at the international symposium on Ultrafine Particles in Brussels, 5-6 July 2022. EU representatives and scientists attended the meeting with the aim of featuring the most recent scientific progress in the field and contributing to air quality policy in Europe. The 8th Ultrafine Particles Symposium 2022 is been held in Brussels with the aim to feature the most recent scientific progress in the field of ultrafine particles and contribute to policy-relevant developments which improve the dialogue with policymakers in Europe. Organised by the European Federation of Clean Air and Environmental Protection Associations (EFCA) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the subtitle of the conference series "Air Quality and Climate" reflects the interest in the scientific developments on the relation between ultrafine particles and human health and that of ultrafine particles and climate. The RI-URBANS' coordinators Xavier Querol (IDAEA-CSIC) and Tuukka Petäjä (UHEL) attended the conference. Xavier Querol gave a presentation on how the RI-URBANS project includes ultrafine particles in the evaluation of advanced air quality parameters in urban Europe. Tuukka Petäjä focused on the instrumentation used and the first results obtained of monitoring ultrafine aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Xavier Querol (left) and Tuukka Petäjä (right) at the EFCA‘s 8th Ultrafine Particles Symposium 2022, Brussels, 5 July 2022 | Source: Xavier Querol Also, Marjan Savadkoohi (IDAEA-CSIC) presented her results on the source apportionment of Black Carbon particles in urban background in European cities, in the frame of the RI-URBANS project. This research is in line with the recommendation of the EFCA to introduce Black Carbon as an additional metric in the Air Quality Directive. Marjan Savadkoohi (IDAEA-CSIC), presenting her work on Black Carbon. | Source: Xavier Querol Xavier Querol (IDAEA-CSIC) introducing RI-URBANS. | Source: Tuukka Petäjä Visit the Ultrafine Particles Symposium website
RI-URBANS's pilot 4 has been launched in Athens, Barcelona, Paris, and Zurich to demonstrate the measurement of a series of novel health indicators. The outcomes will complement existing air quality policy with measures directly targeting emission sources relevant to health. The RI-URBANS' pilot 4, focused on the health effects of novel air quality metrics, has just started in Athens, Barcelona, Paris, and Zurich. The studies carried out in these large, populated European cities, aim to identify particulate matter components and nanoparticles that could be especially dangerous for human health. These data will be used to evaluate premature mortality and morbidity by cause, gender, and age, and compared with the health outcomes of conventionally measured pollutants. The pilot includes two steps: Assessment of the health effects related to air quality metrics currently available from the public administrations. This analysis is carried out in all available cities (not only in the 4 pilot cities). Assessment of the health effects related to novel air quality metrics. In this case, the air quality variables include non-regulated pollutants and parameters, such as black carbon, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the number concentrations of ultrafine particles, the oxidative potential at the cellular level, etc. If the novel air quality metrics of both short-term and long-term exposures represent a better parameter to assess the impact of air pollution on health, researchers will be able to relate these metrics with health data (mortality and morbidity in each city). The information provided in this pilot will be relevant for air quality-health policies at the European level. CHECK OUT THE SAMPLING IN HEALTH INDICATOR PILOT CITIES
An improved method of Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service regional emission inventory has been developed over RI-URBANS' pilot cities. This method will produce a detailed mapping of industrial, transport, residential, agricultural, and other emission sources for all the pilots. A spatial disaggregation method to improve CAMS (European Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service) regional emissions has been implemented over RI-URBANS' pilot cities. The method will incorporate all additional pollutant species and sources that will occur in the frame of the pilot tasks. In addition, the method will be evaluated and optimized once the comparison of available bottom-up emission datasets over cities occurs. Then, the method will be applied in all pilot cities of RI-URBANS, so that inputs are available for high-resolution CTM applications. Improved methodology of CAMS emissions from road transport in Athens. Through the applied methodology, the mass in each CAMS cell is attributed to its road network. In the below plots the mapping through the direct allocation to the network is given. | Source: Eleni Athanasopoulou (ΝΟΑ), Nasia Kakouri (ΝΟΑ), Jeroen Kuenen (TNO), Evangelos Gerasopoulos (NOA) The methodology has been developed and employed to improve the CAMS-REG emission inventory over specific urban areas of Europe. The improvement is largely based on a spatial disaggregation approach to provide an increasing accuracy of the annual, anthropogenic emissions over the cities of interest. The spatial disaggregation of CAMS-REG is based on credible, open access, generic, contemporary, high-resolution spatial datasets of the European area, which are transformed into the sector-specific spatial proxies applied to the source categories of CAMS-REG. The approach is incorporated into a fully automated tool that will produce the detailed mapping of industrial, transport, residential, agricultural, and other emission sources for all the RI-URBANS' pilot cities. These products will directly be used as input for the air quality modelling at the urban scale (Task 3.3. Extending AQ modelling to health and policy relevant indicators down to urban scale). The methodology will also be used to spatially disaggregate the RI-URBANS European scale emission inventories developed in this task. This method has been extensively described in the Deliverable D17 (D3.2) Methodology to improve European urban emission inventories: CHECK OUT THE METHODOLOGY
RI-URBANS participates in the Knowledge and Citizens Working Group meeting, organised by the Green Deal Support Office
RI-URBANS attended the first Knowledge and Citizens Working Group meeting, organised by the EU Green Deal Support Office on June 15, 2022. An action plan will be developed with other Green Deal projects in order to achieve maximised positive impacts in the long-term future. On June 15, 2022, RI-URBANS' coordinator and project manager (Xavier Querol and Marta Monge) attended the first edition of the Knowledge and Citizens Working Group meeting. The meeting was organised by the Green Deal Support Office, whose mission is to facilitate the coordination between projects funded under the Horizon 2020 Green Deal Call and maximise their positive impact in the longer term. The first Working Group meeting aimed to bring together all the knowledge and citizens task force projects to get to know each other, identify and prioritise commonalities to propose and create synergies between the projects. In addition, the Working Group meeting also served to start developing the action plan and to advance the identification of key activities. A total of 16 projects attended the meeting: Increase the transformative potential of democratic innovations to address specific topics of the European Green Deal Reshaping citizens’ deliberation for the European Green Deal Advancing behavioural change through an inclusive Green Deal Social sciences and humanities for achieving a responsible, equitable and desirable Green Deal Achieving a new European energy awareness. A European competence framework for low carbon economy and sustainability through education Smart citizen education for a green future Individual change of habits needed for green European transition Co-creating a positive and sustainable lifestyle tool with and for European citizens Wearables and drones for city socio-environmental observations and behavioral change Systemic expansion of territorial circular ecosystems for end-of-life foam A frontrunner approach to systemic circular, holistic & inclusive solutions for a new paradigm of territorial circular economy Pilot applications in urban landscapes Research infrastructures services reinforcing air quality monitoring capacities in European urban & industrial areas Integrated digital framework for comprehensive maritime data and information services Their common focus is to strengthen citizens' awareness of their own role as actors of change, promoting inclusive and participatory approaches to decision and policymaking at the local and national levels to address climate change challenges and propose transdisciplinary approaches to behavioural change. During the event, there were joint sessions with several of these projects. The European Commission envisaged technical synergies of RI-URBANS with ICOS CITIES / PAUL, CIRCULAR FOAM, and FRONTSH1P projects in terms of providing citizens with information systems and tools to support decision-making in both pollution monitoring and circular economy solutions adoption. RI-URBANS' coordinator, Xavier Querol, suggested synergies and support to: Engaging RI-URBANS with both Directorates-General for Environment (DG ENV) and for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) of the European Commission Using RI-URBANS' tools, developed within the Work Package 2, for citizen science Linking the pilot studies of different projects that are simultaneously carried [...]
RI-URBANS' first stakeholder meeting was held online on May 30th with the objective of demonstrating the project's societal and environmental benefits and informing about the progression of the pilot actions. The stakeholder discussion promoted cooperation and common efforts between RI-URBANS and other air quality monitoring actors. The RI-URBANS' first stakeholder meeting was held online on May 30th with the aim of showing the advancements of the project pilot activities to the stakeholders and bringing together the expertise and feedback from all the actors. A total of 57 participants attended the meeting. Among the stakeholders, representatives of the European Environmental Agency (EEA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), together with delegates from several European Commission institutions (DG-ENV, JRC, or AQUILA) provided valuable feedback on RI-URBAN'S progress during its first year. After a brief introduction of RI-URBANS' challenges, objectives, and strategic pillars by Xavier Querol and Tuukka Petäjä, coordinators of the project, the pilot leaders took the lead in explaining the advancements in each of the pilot cases. Pilot 1 - Near-real-time aerosol apportionment of carbonaceous aerosols Hilkka Timonen, from the Finish Meteorological Institute (FMI), described the main objective: to pilot near-real-time source apportionment tools combining Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM), organic aerosol, and aethalometer black carbon online measurements, and its related tasks. The pilot is expected to start on 1st January 2023 and the implementation will take place in 13 sites in 7 European countries. Pilot 1 has also started building synergies with the US. Having similar tools to make intercomparisons and obtain comprehensive observations will provide great benefit in the advancement of air quality monitoring in both the EU and US urban environments. Pilot 2 - Near-real time provision of nanoparticle number size distribution data David Beddows, from the University of Birmingham, explained Pilot 2. This pilot provides nanoparticles data and their size distribution from 3 main European cities (Barcelona, Birmingham, and Helsinki), together with 2 volunteer cities (Paris and Athens). The explanation was followed by a discussion between RI-URBANS' coordinators and some stakeholders about ensuring the compatibility of observational data between ACTRIS and Air Quality Monitoring Networks for aerosol size distribution measurements, and the standardization of these measurements. Pilot 3 - Urban fine-scale mapping including innovative modelling, monitoring, and crowdsourcing. Katherin Sartelent (French National Centre for Scientific Research, CNRS) and Gerard Hoek (University of Utrecht) showed the Pilot 3 progress with its objective of describing the urban variability of outdoor exposure to nanoparticles and other pollutants using modelling tools, mobile measurements, black carbon and particulate matter mid-cost sensors, and the citizens’ participation. Some of the campaigns involving different mobile measurement approaches have already started (i.e. Bucharest campaign). The Rotterdam and Birmingham campaigns are expected to start in Autumn 2022. Ultrafine particle concentration (raw data) measured on May, 4. 2022 in Bucharest. | Image source: Doina Nicolae (INOE) Pilot 4 - Novel health indicators of nanoparticles and particulate matter components and source contributions. [...]
The RI-URBANS project, in its mission to develop a European air quality monitoring system that enhances and complements those that are currently available, encourages research institutions to become Associated collaborators in the project. The research institutions should be active in the field of air quality in Europe and the health impact of air pollution. Associated Collaborators may contribute their expertise to the project’s objectives and benefit from the activities undertaken within the project. They will be involved in the project on a basis of a collaborative relationship (i.e. supplying data, being involved in measurements in pilot studies, interpreting data, exploiting results, and participating in meetings), but without any financial or contractual implication Application Procedure Application Form for Associated Collaboration with RI-URBANS
The measurements will map the variability and distribution of pollutants across the city and will assess the contribution of pollution hotspots, such as power plants and heavy road traffic. The campaign will be running until mid-June, extending the tasks in winter 2022-2023 based on other work packages' requirements. The Bucharest campaigns, led by researchers from the National Institute for Research and Development for Optoelectronics (INOE), Bucharest, Romania, have just started to implement tasks from RI-URBANS' pilots 3 and 5. RI-URBANS' pilot 3 focuses on mapping the variability and distribution of nanoparticles and other pollutants in the city. Not only the assessment takes into consideration a few fixed sampling sites, but also the horizontal and vertical variability across the city. Within the Bucharest campaign, a mobile platform is taking measures of ultrafine particles, PM1, PM2.5, and PM10 concentrations on a predefined route, from 8:30h-16:00h (including rushing hours), one day per week, if weather permits. More intensive measurements (every day) are planned for 23 May to 13 June. Ultrafine particle concentration (raw data) measured in May, 4. 2022. | Image source: Doina Nicolae (INOE) RI-URBANS' pilot 5 addresses the nanoparticle contributions from urban hotspots: roadsides, airports, industry, and harbours. In the Bucharest campaigns, hotspot monitoring includes two fixed sites (MARS -Măgurele Center for Atmosphere and Radiation Studies- and INCAS, next to the Bucharest Heating Power Plant) and one mobile platform to perform intensive fine scale mapping. Pollution hotspots in Bucharest assessed during the RI-URBANS' pilot 5 campaign. | Image source: INOE Read more about RI-URBAN'S pilot studies following this link.
RI-URBANS project focuses on particulate matter and ultrafine particles to enhance the air pollution monitoring systems in Europe. Ultrafine particles, particles smaller than 0,1 µm, can be absorbed in the lung tissue and quickly enter the bloodstream, causing negative effects on the population. What are ultrafine particles? Ultrafine particles are usually defined as particles smaller than 0,1 µm (100nm) in diameter. To quickly get an idea about their extremely small size, if pollen had the size of a football stadium, the ultrafine particle from diesel soot would be the ball. In urban areas, ultrafine particles, also called nanoparticles, have a major anthropogenic origin, mostly primary emissions from road traffic. However, new particle formation processes can generate also ultrafine particles from precursor gaseous pollutants. This is known as nucleation or new particle formation and can be produced close to the exhausts or photochemically at urban and regional scales. Accordingly, the contributions of these sources to urban ultrafine particles might differ according to climate and emission patterns. TEM photomicrograph of ultrafine particles sampled in ambient air in Barcelona. | Image source: Xavier Querol (CSIC) Ultrafine particles are measured in number concentrations (number/cm3) while standards of atmospheric particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, particles smaller than 10µm and 2.5µm, respectively) are set up for mass concentrations (µg/m3). The improvements in urban air quality in Europe undergone during the last 15 years allowed to reduce PM10 and PM2.5, but this does not necessarily imply a proportional decrease of ultrafine particles. When particulate matter levels are high, gaseous pollutants tend to condensate on these particles and the mass concentration grows. On the contrary, when particulate matter levels are low but there is high insolation new particle formation might be favoured instead of condensation and this increases the number concentration. Why ultrafine particles might be so relevant for health? Epidemiological and toxicological studies suggest that negative health effects may increase with exposure to decreasing particle size. Due to its nanometric size, inhaled ultrafine particles are uptaken by epithelial cells in the lungs where they can even penetrate the tissue. They can also be translocated to the interstitial space that lies in between blood vessels or can reach directly the bloodstream, making it more difficult for its removal from the body. Another effect of these particles is the lack of macrophage recognition in the alveoli, which impairs the immune system to detect and remove them from the lungs. Ultrafine particles are inhaled and can be absorbed by the alveoli tissue, entering directly the circulatory system | Image source: OpenStax College, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. The association between exposure to nanoparticles and health outcomes is, however, inconsistent in the literature, probably due to: reduced number of studies (compared to studies on PM2.5), lack of representativeness of the few existing nanoparticles measuring sites, hampering their link with health outcomes, differences in measurements protocols differences in source contributions: Whereas in some cities most days with high [...]
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel mentions RI-URBANS as a key example of open data research infrastructure
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel was interviewed for the RISIS Newsletter to illustrate in her vision the future of European research and innovation in addressing societal challenges and adding value to citizens’ daily lives. RI-URBANS project was mentioned as an example of open research infrastructure to enhance air quality monitoring systems in the hands of administrations, agencies and citizens. The European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, highlighted RI-URBANS project as a key example of open research infrastructure to improve air quality monitoring networks and, ultimately, mitigate the impact of poor air quality on human health. Interviewed for the RISIS Newsletter #6 European Excellence in Research: Paving the Path for Young generations, Commissioner Gabriel stressed how open research infrastructures like the Horizon 2020 project RI-URBANS help to address the European Green Deal priorities while involving directly citizens. "Combining air quality monitoring networks and research infrastructures knowledge and technologies, RI-URBANS deploys tools and information systems in the hands of citizens and communities to support decision-making by air quality managers and regulators. This is one example of how an effective European Research Area can deliver to the society and improve citizens’ lives", mentioned Commissioner Gabriel. Read the full RISIS Newsletter on this link.