Metrology for nitrogen dioxide

Short Name: MetNO2, Project Number: 16ENV05
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Significance of high quality calibration and quality assurance demonstrated for effective delivery of pollution control policies

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is produced by burning fuel, for example, in car engines and power stations, and has one of the greatest impacts on human health of all air pollutants. Levels of NO2 in the atmosphere needed to be limited to improve the quality of life for European citizens and reduce economic burdens of the health issues caused by exposure. However, NO2 was the only regulated air pollutant not directly measured, resulting in uncertain and inaccurate measurements.


This project applied outcomes from the EMRP project ENV01 MACPoll to develop capabilities to directly measure NO2.


The project developed high-concentration static reference standards for NO2 with uncertainties of under 0.5 %, and identified a potential route to develop reference materials that could be certified to provide more practical stability times.


Dynamic reference standards for low concentrations of NO2 were also developed, with less than 3 % uncertainty demonstrated for a portable generator.


Nitric acid and water vapour were identified as the main impurities formed unintentionally during preparation of static and dynamic NO2 reference standards, prompting the development of suitable quantification methods. A comprehensive comparison experiment of direct NO2 instruments indicated the importance of calibration and quality assurance requirements to ensure measurement data is of the highest quality.


Project website
Other Participants
Aarhus Universitet (Denmark)
Deutscher Wetterdienst (Germany)
Eidgenoessische Materialpruefungs- und Forschungsanstalt (Switzerland)
Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH (Germany)
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (United Kingdom)
King's College London (United Kingdom)
University of York (United Kingdom)