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Low-Cost Sensor Applications for Environmental Research: Potentialities and Limitations in Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution Monitoring

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 12896

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Environment, University “Aldo Moro”, Via Orabona 4, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: atmospheric pollution; indoor air quality (IAQ); volatile organic compounds (VOCs); particulate matter (PM); breath analysis; monitoring strategies; odors monitoring; emissions from materials and consumer products; primary and secondary pollutants; test emission chambers; sensors networks; PM chemical characterization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Assistant Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: atmospheric chemistry and modeling; aerosol science; Indoor Air Quality (IAQ); Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Particulate Matter (PM); breath analysis; monitoring strategies; odors monitoring; emissions from materials; sensors network; PM chemical characterization; sustainability; environmental health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website1 Website2
Assistant Guest Editor
Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Environment, University “Aldo Moro”, Via Orabona 4, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: atmospheric chemistry and modeling; indoor air quality (IAQ); volatile organic compounds (VOCs); particulate matter (PM); breath analysis; monitoring strategies; odors monitoring; emissions from materials; sensors networks; PM chemical characterization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The last decade has witnessed a progressive evolution of methodological approaches and strategies for air pollution monitoring and control through the exploitation of low-cost sensors, used exclusively or simultaneously with high-grade scientific instruments. Based on the recent remarkable strides made in the sensor technology field, a wide selection of low-cost sensors have become available on the market, stimulating the scientific community to apply them as strategic tools for the high temporal and spatial resolution monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM). As a result of their user-friendly interfaces and low maintenance requirements, combined with the availability of high temporal and spatial resolution data, low-cost sensors have contributed to the development of citizen science projects based on sensor networks for atmospheric pollution monitoring enabling specific scientific questions to be addressed, e.g., the detection of short-term events, identification of emissive sources, and spatial distribution of pollutants. Additional evidence on the potentialities of low-cost sensors to serve as a versatile and strategic methodological approach in order to assess the impact of emission sources has also been provided by indoor air quality studies. Nevertheless, low-cost sensor technology may potentially be affected by weak reproducibility and inter-sensor variability, as well as susceptibility to environmental parameters, e.g., humidity, which may lead to uncertainty about the reliability and meaningfulness of the data. Therefore, a rigorous scientific evaluation of low-cost sensor performances through direct field comparisons with scientific-grade instruments is essential in order to extend their effectiveness. This Special Issue tries to solve the very debated issue on the potentialities and limitations of low-cost sensor applications, both indoors and outdoors, inviting scientists and experts in the fields of chemistry and engineering to contribute.

Dr. Jolanda Palmisani
Prof. Dr. Gianluigi de Gennaro
Dr. Alessia Di Gilio
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • low-cost sensors
  • sensor networks
  • high resolution monitoring; indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • atmospheric pollution
  • particulate matter (PM)
  • volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • odors
  • exposure assessment

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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26 pages, 5668 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the Interior Microclimate in Art Nouveau Heritage Buildings for the Protection of Exhibits and Human Health
by Alexandru Ilieș, Tudor Caciora, Florin Marcu, Zharas Berdenov, Gabriela Ilieș, Bahodirhon Safarov, Nicolaie Hodor, Vasile Grama, Maisa Ali Al Shomali, Dorina Camelia Ilies, Ovidiu Gaceu, Monica Costea and Damiannah Kieti
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16599; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416599 - 10 Dec 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1778
Abstract
Poor air quality inside museums can have a double effect; on the one hand, influencing the integrity of the exhibits and on the other hand, endangering the health of employees and visitors. Both components can be very sensitive to the influence of the [...] Read more.
Poor air quality inside museums can have a double effect; on the one hand, influencing the integrity of the exhibits and on the other hand, endangering the health of employees and visitors. Both components can be very sensitive to the influence of the internal microclimate, therefore careful monitoring of the physical parameters and pollutants is required in order to maintain them within strict limits and thus to reduce the hazards that can be induced. The current study considers the determination and analysis of 15 indicators of the internal microclimate in an Art Nouveau museum built at the beginning of the 20th century in the Municipality of Oradea, Romania. The monitoring spanned a period of seven months, between September 2021 and March 2022, targeting three rooms of the museum with different characteristics and containing exhibits with a high degree of fragility. The results show that, although there are numerous indicators that have exceeded the thresholds induced by international standards, the possible negative impact on the exhibits and/or on human health remains moderate. This is due to the fact that, most of the time, exceeding the permitted limits are small or only sporadic, the values quickly returning to the permitted limits. Thus, only 22 of the 212 days of monitoring recorded marginal conditions regarding the quality of the indoor air, the rest having acceptable and good conditions. To improve the indoor conditions, a more careful management is needed, especially regarding the values of temperature, humidity, particulate matters, natural and artificial light, volatile organic compounds (VOC) and formaldehyde (HCHO), which during the measurements recorded high values that fluctuated in a wide spectrum. The obtained results can represent the basis for the development and implementation of long-term strategies for stabilizing the microclimatic conditions in the museum in order to preserve the exhibits preventively and to ensure a clean and safe environment for people. Full article
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18 pages, 3958 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Meteorological Conditions and Agricultural Waste Burning on PM Levels: A Case Study of Avellino (Southern Italy)
by Vincenzo Capozzi, Letizia Raia, Viviana Cretella, Carmela De Vivo and Raffaele Cucciniello
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912246 - 27 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1778
Abstract
In this work, the effect of the meteorological conditions and the agricultural waste burning on PM air pollution levels has been investigated in the city of Avellino, located in the Sabato Valley (southern Italy). Avellino has been described among the most polluted towns [...] Read more.
In this work, the effect of the meteorological conditions and the agricultural waste burning on PM air pollution levels has been investigated in the city of Avellino, located in the Sabato Valley (southern Italy). Avellino has been described among the most polluted towns in Italy in terms of particulate matter (PM) during the last 10 years. The main aim of this study was to analyze the air quality data collected in Avellino and its surroundings during September 2021. In this period, the air quality in the Sabato Valley has been adversely affected by agricultural practices, which represent a significant source of PM. The impact of agricultural waste burning on PM levels in Avellino has been determined through an integrated monitoring network, consisting of two fixed urban reference stations and by several low-cost sensors distributed in the Sabato Valley. In the considered period, the two reference stations recorded several exceedances of the daily average PM10 legislative limit value (50 µg m−3) in addition to high concentrations of PM2.5. Moreover, we provide a detailed description of the event that took place on 25 September 2021, when the combined effect of massive agricultural practices and very stable atmospheric conditions produced a severe pollution episode. Results show PM exceedances in Avellino concurrent with high PM values in the areas bordering the city due to agricultural waste burning and adverse meteorological conditions, which inhibit PM dispersion in the atmosphere. Full article
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15 pages, 3241 KiB  
Article
High-Resolution Urban Air Quality Mapping for Multiple Pollutants Based on Dense Monitoring Data and Machine Learning
by Rong Guo, Ying Qi, Bu Zhao, Ziyu Pei, Fei Wen, Shun Wu and Qiang Zhang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 8005; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19138005 - 29 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1987
Abstract
Spatially explicit urban air quality information is important for urban fine-management and public life. However, existing air quality measurement methods still have some limitations on spatial coverage and system stability. A micro station is an emerging monitoring system with multiple sensors, which can [...] Read more.
Spatially explicit urban air quality information is important for urban fine-management and public life. However, existing air quality measurement methods still have some limitations on spatial coverage and system stability. A micro station is an emerging monitoring system with multiple sensors, which can be deployed to provide dense air quality monitoring data. Here, we proposed a method for urban air quality mapping at high-resolution for multiple pollutants. By using the dense air quality monitoring data from 448 micro stations in Lanzhou city, we developed a decision tree model to infer the distribution of citywide air quality at a 500 m × 500 m × 1 h resolution, with a coefficient of determination (R2) value of 0.740 for PM2.5, 0.754 for CO and 0.716 for SO2. Meanwhile, we also show that the deployment density of the monitoring stations can have a significant impact on the air quality inference results. Our method is able to show both short-term and long-term distribution of multiple important pollutants in the city, which demonstrates the potential and feasibility of dense monitoring data combined with advanced data science methods to support urban atmospheric environment fine-management, policy making, and public health studies. Full article
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Review

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37 pages, 1755 KiB  
Review
Research Priorities of Applying Low-Cost PM2.5 Sensors in Southeast Asian Countries
by Shih-Chun Candice Lung, To Thi Hien, Maria Obiminda L. Cambaliza, Ohnmar May Tin Hlaing, Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh, Mohd Talib Latif, Puji Lestari, Abdus Salam, Shih-Yu Lee, Wen-Cheng Vincent Wang, Ming-Chien Mark Tsou, Tran Cong-Thanh, Melliza Templonuevo Cruz, Kraichat Tantrakarnapa, Murnira Othman, Shatabdi Roy, Tran Ngoc Dang and Dwi Agustian
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1522; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031522 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 6513
Abstract
The low-cost and easy-to-use nature of rapidly developed PM2.5 sensors provide an opportunity to bring breakthroughs in PM2.5 research to resource-limited countries in Southeast Asia (SEA). This review provides an evaluation of the currently available literature and identifies research priorities in [...] Read more.
The low-cost and easy-to-use nature of rapidly developed PM2.5 sensors provide an opportunity to bring breakthroughs in PM2.5 research to resource-limited countries in Southeast Asia (SEA). This review provides an evaluation of the currently available literature and identifies research priorities in applying low-cost sensors (LCS) in PM2.5 environmental and health research in SEA. The research priority is an outcome of a series of participatory workshops under the umbrella of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project–Monsoon Asia and Oceania Networking Group (IGAC–MANGO). A literature review and research prioritization are conducted with a transdisciplinary perspective of providing useful scientific evidence in assisting authorities in formulating targeted strategies to reduce severe PM2.5 pollution and health risks in this region. The PM2.5 research gaps that could be filled by LCS application are identified in five categories: source evaluation, especially for the distinctive sources in the SEA countries; hot spot investigation; peak exposure assessment; exposure–health evaluation on acute health impacts; and short-term standards. The affordability of LCS, methodology transferability, international collaboration, and stakeholder engagement are keys to success in such transdisciplinary PM2.5 research. Unique contributions to the international science community and challenges with LCS application in PM2.5 research in SEA are also discussed. Full article
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