Water, Air, & Soil Pollution: Focus

, Volume 9, Issue 1–2, pp 55–68 | Cite as

Volatile Organic Compounds Selection for Incorporation in Photochemical Mechanisms and the Development of Secondary Pollution Reduction Strategies

  • Stavros KarathanasisEmail author
  • Ioannis Ziomas


In the present work a method for the evaluation of the importance of the VOCs species is presented, aiming to provide criteria for the incorporation of these species into atmospheric photochemical mechanisms and for the successful application of secondary pollution reduction strategies. According to the method presented here, the species can be divided into more important and less important ones, taking into account their mixing ratios and emission values in combination with their reactivity. For this classification three quantitative and one qualitative criteria were introduced. Overall, it is concluded that alkenes with more than a few carbon atoms in their chain appear to be more important in urban and suburban areas, while in background conditions the alkanes, having the smaller chain (ethane, propane), become more important. In the case of alkenes there is no clear species classification, except for the biogenically emitted compounds, isoprene and limonene. In general, more important alkenes appear to be those with the smaller chain (ethene, propene, butene). Most abundant aromatics are benzene, toluene, and xylene. In background conditions higher aromatics are also important, especially 1,2,3-, 1,3,5-, and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene. The most important carbonylic compounds are formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acetone. Finally, taking into account the results mentioned above, a new photochemical mechanism was developed. The species and species groups used in the proposed mechanism are: ethane, higher alkanes, ethene, propene, 2- butene, 1-alkenes, 2-alkenes, higher alkenes, benzene, toluene, m-, o-, p-xylene, 1,3,5-, 1,2,3-, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, higher aromatics, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, higher aldehydes, isoprene, limonene, and other biogenic VOCs.


Emission control strategies Photochemical mechanism development VOC emissions VOC mixing ratios VOC reactivity 



Karathanasis Stavros wishes to thank the National Scholarship’s Foundation (IKY) for a PhD research grant.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Region of Central MacedoniaDirectorate of Environment and Land PlanningThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringNational Technical University of Athens, Zografou CampusAthensGreece
  3. 3.Laboratory of Atmospheric PhysicsAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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