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Evaluation of the optimum volatile organic compounds control strategy considering the formation of ozone and secondary organic aerosol in Seoul, Korea

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Abstract

The characteristics of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their annual trends in Seoul, Korea were investigated, with their optimal control strategy suggested. The annual concentration of VOCs (96.2–121.1 ppbC) has shown a decreasing trend from 2004 to 2008, suggesting the control strategy via the “Special Measures for Metropolitan Air Quality Improvement,” which was implemented in 2005, has been successful. The contributions of individual VOC to the production of ambient ozone and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) are discussed to assess the adequacy of current control strategies. The contribution of aromatics (C6–C10) to the production of ozone accounted for 38.7–46.3 % of the total ozone production, followed by low carbon alkanes (C2–C6) (27.0–35.9 %). The total SOA formation potential of VOCs was found to range from 2.5 to 3.5 μg m−3, mainly as a result of aromatics (C6–C10) (over 85 %). Considering the contributions from ozone and SOA production, it was concluded that solvent use was the most important emission source, followed by vehicle exhaust emissions. Thus, the current emission control strategy focused on these two emission sources is appropriate to reduce the VOCs related pollution level of the Seoul Metropolitan Region. Still, an additional control strategy, such as controlling the emissions from meat cooking, which is an emission source of high carbon alkanes (C7–C10), needs to be considered to further reduce the VOCs related pollution level in Seoul.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant, funded by the Korean government (MEST) (nos. 2012-0005208 and 2012-0000851).

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Correspondence to Y. P. Kim.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Shin, H.J., Kim, J.C., Lee, S.J. et al. Evaluation of the optimum volatile organic compounds control strategy considering the formation of ozone and secondary organic aerosol in Seoul, Korea. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20, 1468–1481 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-012-1108-5

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Keywords

  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Ozone formation potential
  • Secondary organic aerosol formation potential
  • Emission control strategy