Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
Supervisors: Dr Aonghus McNabola & Dr Laurence Gill
Air Pollution Controls – A Local Solution to a Global Problem
In 1800, the global population was 1 billion. Today, it is 6.8 billion. By 2050, it will reach 9 billion. Due to urban expansion, the global urban population is set to increase from 3.4 billion to a whopping 6.3 billion. As cities are expanding, air pollution remains to be ongoing threat around the globe. Therefore, methods of reducing our exposure to harmful air pollutants are essential to protect our health as urban dwellers. Researchers at Trinity College Dublin are investigating passive controls as a method of reducing air pollution in urban street canyons.
Hi, my name is John Gallagher and I am a PhD researcher here in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering in Trinity College. My research objective is to develop a passive control implementation strategy document for urban planners, so that they can introduce passive controls to improve air quality in the urban environment. Passive controls increase the amount of dispersion that occurs in an urban street canyon and therefore reduces the pollutant concentration at street level. These passive controls can have many forms. Previous investigators have looked at avenue trees and low boundary walls as potential passive controls. My research offers a short term solution to a long term problem that is air pollution.
My fellow researchers and I in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering are carrying out a number of studies in assessing the current exposure to air pollution in Dublin. All of these research studies aim to improve our understanding of air pollution and introduce innovative methods of reducing our dependency on our fossil fuel driven infrastructure in Ireland.
As part of my research I have investigated new passive controls, such as parked cars. The study identified the optimised parking layout to reduce pollution concentrations at street level. The research has been carried out using the software fluent. Fluent is a fluid dynamic modelling programs which can simulate 3D street canyons with realistic meteorological conditions. Modelling provides a useful tool in terms of predicting change in an urban street canyon. In this case, we can compare a street canyon before and after the implementation of a passive control
Implementing passive controls can improve local air quality. I hope that my research can benefit people in cities throughout the world to improve their quality of life.