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Performance and use of low-cost air quality sensors

Abstracts of papers presented at the 12th Air quality Conference 2020 in Thessaloniki, Greece

The 2020 Air Quality Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece, was one of the events highlighted by Kunak. Our intention was to present the following two studies:

  • An analysis of the performance of low-cost air quality monitoring devices.
  • A practical example of how outdoor air pollution is measured in sports venues.

But the global health crisis caused by the spread of the COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the event. Instead, it was decided to hold an online conference whose program can be found on the official website. Our communications are included in the sections “Sensors, Crowd Sourcing and Air Quality Model Simulations” and “Exposure and Health Assessment Related to Air Pollution” respectively.

Performance of low-cost air quality monitoring devices: conclusions after one year of testing

The aim of our study «Low Cost Sensor Behaviour Assessment: Dealing with Long-Term Drifts» is to show what performance low-cost air monitoring equipment offer for measuring air pollution.

This kind of devices, as we commented on our blogare not substitutes for reference equipment. But they may be appropriate for other applications such as:

  • Research studies, which promise to achieve relevance to verify the association COVID-19 and air pollution suggested by some publications.
  • Additional support to existing air quality networks.
  • Identification and characterisation of pollution sources.

However, to obtain useful results, it is necessary to use sensors that provide high-quality data. Therefore, in order to analyse the performance of our equipment, we have carried out a one-year evaluation of our Kunak-Air 10. During the course of this study, we compared our device with a fixed reference station, a mobile one and another Kunak Air-10, in 4 different situations (environmental, location, time of year, etc.).

The results of the analysis conclude that the Kunak Air-10 offers a precision and accuracy very close to that provided by reference stations. We also found that the long-term stability problems and deviations that these types of sensors usually show can be solved by controlling the device remotely.

Use of air quality sensors: a pilot project in Yokohama, Japan

The main objective of the study «Athletes Exposure to Air Pollution during World Athletics World Relays: a Pilot Study» is to show how air quality is measured in sports venues. 

Air pollution has a negative impact on athletes’ sporting performance. The reasons why this group may be at greater risk are:

  • Increased ventilation during exercise.
  • A greater volume of air inhaled through the mouth, which does not have filtration mechanisms like the nose.
  • The increase in the speed of air flow. This feature allows contaminants to reach the deepest areas of the respiratory tract.

This pilot study in Yokohama led to two important conclusions:

  • The usefulness of hourly evaluation of air pollution, which makes it possible to schedule competitions and training at the hours with the lowest level of pollution; and,
  • The convenience of continuing to develop studies, even at the individual level of each athlete. In this way, it would be possible to better understand how air pollution affects sports performance. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 823487.

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