A Peek Behind the Curtains: How Emissions are Measured

A Peek Behind the Curtains: How Emissions are Measured

ŠKODA World Corporate Life

Exhaust gas emissions are an important topic in the automotive world, and emission measurement processes are becoming increasingly more complex and time-consuming. Let’s take a look at how emissions are managed and monitored at ŠKODA.

8. 8. 2019

ŠKODA has been measuring exhaust gas emissions for over sixty years. Emission measurement is an important part of the engine development process, and not only for homologation-related reasons, but also because the brand can continue to develop drivetrains in the Czech Republic while flexibly responding to fast-changing needs on the market, among its customers and in the respective legislation.

Emission measurement operations are concentrated at the recently built Emissions Centre South, located right next to the Technological Development site in Mladá Boleslav. Emission engineers use three test boxes designed for combustion engines, future electric cars and hybrids. Each of these boxes is fitted with a cylindrical dynamometer to simulate vehicles’ masses of inertia, tyres’ rolling resistance and aerodynamic air resistance to make the testing process a near-reality experience.

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Engine testing in the testing room: each of these boxes is fitted with a cylindrical dynamometer to simulate speeds of as much as 250 km/h

Emissions are measured at temperatures of +23, +14 and -7 degrees Celsius. The laboratory can also be used to take special measurements across a wide range of weather conditions (temperatures ranging between -40 and +65 degrees Celsius, relative humidity of 10-95 per cent). The cylindrical dynamometer is designed to simulate speeds of as much as 250 km/h. The resistance forces acting on the vehicle in motion are simulated by electric braking motors (independent for each axle, each producing 220 kW of power).

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Engine testing in the testing room: the laboratory can also be used to take special measurements across a wide range of weather conditions

As part of the emission measurement process, the exhaust gases are sampled and analysed, the main focus being placed on the total volume and concentration of individual pollutants. The parameters measured include the quantities of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (C02), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and methane (CH4), the particle number (PN) and the particulate mass (PM).

The exhaust gas analysis is a combination of high-precision measurement and complex mathematical calculations across a range of driving modes. The Emissions Centre South also features 30 stations for pre-measurement warming-up and conditioning – this is the conditioning area.

Control-testing-room

The exhaust gas analysis is a combination of high-precision measurement and complex mathematical calculations across a range of driving modes.

As of September 2018, the gas exhaust emissions of all new vehicles sold in the EU have had to be measured according to WLTP and RDE regulations. Put simply, the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) lays down requirements for emission measurements taken in laboratory conditions and the RDE (Real Driving Emissions) for measurements in real-traffic conditions. The Emissions Centre South also provides a technical backdrop for the preparation of vehicles for RDE measurements. RDE measurements are taken in standard road-operation conditions, using a mobile analytical system known as PEMS (Portable Emissions Measurement System).

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RDE (Real Driving Emissions) measurements are taken in standard road-operation conditions.

ŠKODA uses eleven PEMS devices (seven at Technological Development and four at Quality). The Emissions Centre South installs PEMS devices in the vehicles to be tested and validates the PEMS system, i.e. it checks to make sure it has the appropriate functionality by comparing its results with those of the laboratory analytical system.

Electric vehicles are also set to have their emissions monitored

Jaroslav Mansfeld has been responsible for emission measurement operations at ŠKODA for years. Together with Martin Hrdlička, Head of Chassis and Engine Development at ŠKODA, Mr Mansfeld oversaw the establishment of the Emissions Centre South, and today he is Emeritus Head of the Engine Technology Centre.

Jaroslav-Mansfeld
Jaroslav Mansfeld
Emeritus Head of the Engine Technology Centre

How did ŠKODA measure emissions in the past?
Archives show that the first really detailed exhaust gas analyses were conducted in late 1954 on the ŠKODA 1500 engine designed for the ŠKODA 973, an army off-road vehicle. The exhaust gas composition and mixture distribution were examined as part of the intake manifold design process. Soon after that, the brand started testing exhaust gases for passenger and freight vehicles at the then Motor Vehicle Research Institute (ÚVMV) in Prague. The cooperation between ŠKODA and ÚVMV engineers then continued until the 1980s, and included development operations involving emission system optimisation for the new ŠKODA FAVORIT.

Another milestone was the new emissions lab with three measurement boxes, built in 1997 on the Technological Development site. One station combined with a climatic chamber made it possible to perform measurements across temperatures ranging between -35 and +65 degrees Celsius. The building, later named “Emissions Centre North”, was substantially enlarged in 2015 and then revamped considerably this year in order to make it possible for ŠKODA to comply with the increasingly strict emission measurement legislation. Parallel to this, the brand decided to build a new emissions centre, internally named “South”, that has been in operation since 2017. In this regard, ŠKODA is getting ready for changes expected in drivetrains, fuels and measurement technologies, as well as for new markets with different emission legislations.

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These are important facts, but emission measurement at ŠKODA no doubt comes with many personal stories. For example, you are not the first in your family to specialise in this area.
Yes, my father – also Jaroslav Mansfeld – did some measurements on engine brakes. One of the things that is really hard to forget was the development of the ŠKODA FAVORIT. We had to respond to legislative changes, and the emission labs at ŠKODA and ÚVMV worked hard to optimise various catalytic systems while designing the mixture for ŠKODA OHV engines fitted with a mechanically and electronically controlled carburettor by Pierburg and a single-point fuel injection system by Bendix.

What is in store for the Emissions Centre in the future, with hybrids and electric cars becoming increasingly widespread?
Those who work here don’t have to worry about losing their jobs, because the testing of hybrids is a great deal more complex and time-consuming than the testing of conventional cars with combustion engines. Measurements need to be taken across various battery-charge statuses, the focus is not only on emissions, but also on electrical parameters and the like. In other words, electric vehicles also come with many systems that need to be tested and measured, and although “exhaust pipe” emissions are not part of the process, we will have to measure, say, power consumption and the range per battery charge.

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