Real-time VOC and organic particle monitoring with CHARON PTR-TOF
Facing an impending shutdown due to the COVID 19 crisis, we started to document its impact on the environment by analyzing Innsbruck’s air quality with a CHARON PTR-TOF 6000 X2. And indeed, the entire Tyrol was quarantined on March 14th, 11am. This had clear effects on traffic and personal mobility. Very recently, Google Inc. has reported a reduction of the mobility in the Tyrol between 65% and 95% associated to workplaces and to retail & recreation, respectively. The associated reduction of anthropogenic emissions in Innsbruck has also been observed by our colleagues at the University of Innsbruck. They faced a clear reduction of NOx concentrations in downtown Innsbruck and found a NO to NO2 ratio that can be associated with “clean” conditions.
IONICON, on the other hand, is situated in the industrial outskirts of Innsbruck in the proximity of one of the most frequented highways in Austria that connects Germany and Italy. Therefore we were not expecting too much of a change. When we look at our VOC measurements, we do see a drop of the concentrations of benzene, toluene and xylene right after the quarantine measures were announced. These VOCs can be typically associated with combustion processes like traffic. Especially on Sundays the reduction gets really obvious. Benzene volume mixing ratios remain stable, but relatively short lived toluene and xylene concentrations drop to near zero values. This indicates a highly reduced emission of combustion related VOCs.