Physicist uses UV light for fast emissions test

A new invention by physicists at Imperial College, London, could help motorists avoid prosecution arising from planned road-side emissions tests – while improving their vehicles’ performance. The Generic UV Sensors, Technologies and Observations (Gusto) system would allow drivers to gauge the chemical content of exhaust emissions simply by driving through a 30m long testing bay […]

A new invention by physicists at Imperial College, London, could help motorists avoid prosecution arising from planned road-side emissions tests – while improving their vehicles’ performance.

The Generic UV Sensors, Technologies and Observations (Gusto) system would allow drivers to gauge the chemical content of exhaust emissions simply by driving through a 30m long testing bay on a filling station forecourt.

The system, invented by Dr John Hassard at the college’s high energy physics department, is capable of measuring the level of pollutants such as nitrogen and sulphur oxides, benzene and other volatile organic compounds. It operates by measuring the differential optical absorbtion of such chemicals and involves the integration of new precision ultraviolet spectroscopy with faster pattern recognition software.

Current emission testing equipment relies on electro-chemical techniques and is more expensive to operate.

Gusto is being tested at sites near the college. It will be commercially developed by IC Innovations, set up by the college to exploit technologies arising from its research.