Seasonal variation of the C2-C9 hydrocarbons concentrations and compositions emitted from motor vehicles in a Seoul tunnel

Kwangsam Na, Yong Pyo Kim, Kil Choo Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The concentrations and compositions of C2-C9 hydrocarbons (HC) were measured in a tunnel at Seoul, Korea in winter, spring and summer, 2000. The average concentrations of ethylene, n-butane and acetylene were the highest species. Though the absolute concentrations of HC in the tunnel air varied significantly, the compositions of individual species were relatively constant over each season. The ratio of exhaust composition to fuel composition for benzene was >1, indicating that it is more abundant in the exhaust than that in the fuel. Consequently, to reduce benzene in vehicle emissions, it is necessary to control benzene-producing HC as well as benzene content in vehicle fuel. The most pronounced differences in the tunnel air among the three seasons were higher mass percentage for propane in winter and higher mass percentages of n-/i-butanes in summer. The amounts of butanes to the total HC in the tunnel air showed a positive relationship (R2=0.71) with the compositions of the butane-fueled vehicles to the total vehicles passing through the tunnel. It showed that butane vehicles are a major contributor to the high concentration of butanes in the tunnel air. Photochemical potential of C2-C9 HC measured in summer was evaluated by using the maximum incremental reactivity. For individual compounds, the contribution made by ethylene to the total specific reactivity was the highest, followed by propylene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, toluene and m-/p-xylene. For five hydrocarbon classes, the contribution of alkenes to the total HC reactivity was the highest. It showed that alkenes were the most important contributor of photochemical ozone formation in the vehicle emissions. The most prominent differences between this study and other studies were higher mass percentages of n-/i-butanes and propane. The reason for this was the wide use of butane-fueled vehicles. Consequently, it was found out that the pattern of fuel usage is an important factor affecting the HC compositions in the vehicle emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1969-1978
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Research Laboratory Program of Korean Ministry of Science and Technology (2000-N-NL-01-C-184). The authors wish to thank to KH Jung in Korea Petroleum Quality Inspection Institute for the gasoline and diesel analysis.


  • C-C Hydrocarbons
  • Photochemical reactivity
  • Seasonal compositions
  • Tunnel
  • Vehicle emissions


Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonal variation of the C2-C9 hydrocarbons concentrations and compositions emitted from motor vehicles in a Seoul tunnel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this