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Developing the first Handbook Emission Factors for Road Transport (HBEFA) for China on the example of Shenzhen

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The promotion of low-carbon and environmentally friendly transport is an important target of China’s development strategy for its transport sector. To reduce vehicle emissions in cities, it is key to develop effective and integrated emission monitoring and to standardize the methodology of emission inventories. In particular, the application of Big Data can help to establish a detailed and reliable real-time emission monitoring. For the integrated development of vehicle emission monitoring, verification and report (MRV) in China, collaboration between relevant stakeholders such as decision-makers on city level, research institutions and the industry as well as capacity development and technical expert exchange is needed.

In 2013, the Shenzhen Municipal Transportation Commission and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support the Southern Chinese city of Shenzhen to alleviate urban traffic congestion and to establish a low-carbon transport system. The project “Shenzhen Traffic Emission Monitoring Platform Construction and Application” has been launched by the Sino-German Cooperation on Low Carbon Transport (CLCT) together with the Swiss Research Institute INFRAS and the Shenzhen Urban Transport Planning Center (SUTPC). The project CLCT is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of BMU and in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China (MoT).

The Handbook Emission Factors for Road Transport (HBEFA) is a European emission model, which has been widely applied to assess the impact of the traffic measures and the transport scenarios on emissions. In the framework of the project CLCT, GIZ, SUTPC and INFRA cooperated to develop the localized HBEFA for China, HBEFA-China.

In a first step, in 2014, the project developed a car-based, localized HBEFA-China for Shenzhen. SUTPC established a traffic emission monitoring platform by using traffic data from Shenzhen and the HBEFA-China developed in the project. After calibration, the traffic emission monitoring platform was then used to quantify the carbon footprint of transport in Shenzhen for transport planning and policy evaluation. From 2017 to 2019, the GIZ, INFRAS and SUTPC cooperated to upgrade the HBEFA-China against the background of the establishment of the Engineering Laboratory for Transportation Carbon Emission in Shenzhen by the Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission (DRC).  

On 25 September 2019, GIZ, INFRAS and SUTPC jointly presented their work in a workshop they organized on the topic of transport emission modelling in China. The workshop aimed at building capacities on emission modelling and at providing training on the application of the HBEFA-China model to Chinese researchers and experts as well as decision-makers in the field of transport planning and emission quantification. The workshop further aimed at facilitating the in-depth technical exchange on the experiences of emission modelling between the experts of GIZ and INFRAS and representatives from Chinese cities.

Following institutions participated in the workshop: China Vehicle Emission Control Center (VECC) under the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), Sun Yat-Sen University, Jinan University, Shenzhen University, Hongkong University of Science and Technology, Nanjing Municipal Transportation Commission. Shenzhen Environmental Monitoring Station, Shenzhen Research Academy of Environmental Science, Shenzhen Ecology an Environment Bureau, Wuhan Research Institute for Transportation Development Strategy, and the Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission.  

The workshop consisted of a training session and a roundtable discussion. In the technical training session, the experts of GIZ and INFRAS trained the participants on the application of HBEFA-China. The training included the detailed introduction of the model, the methodology of modeling development, application examples and practices. Afterwards, the experts shared their knowledge and experience on the topics of multi-scale vehicle inventories based on transport Big Data, real-time road traffic emission monitoring and elaborated on the need to formulate policy suggestions on the role of new energy vehicles (NEV) in emission quantification and modeling.

In the following roundtable session, the participating experts intensively discussed the future methods of the emission modelling, including the necessity to monitor individual vehicles for comprehensive modelling, the consideration of data security and data privacy and the targets as well as the feasibility of the policies and measures for monitoring. One of the major applications of the emission models is to project future transport and traffic development scenarios and to conduct comprehensive assessments.

The following conclusions were drawn by the experts:

  1. A database center needs to be established, in which the vehicle emission test data and the monitoring data from different sources can be shared between relevant stakeholders, aiming at a comprehensive validation of the emission models and related data.
  2. The cooperation not only between different governmental departments but also with the relevant transport industries is crucial for the effective operation of such a Big Data center.
  3. Further research on data collection, monitoring, processing and analysis is needed for the development of the Big Data center.
  4. The emission monitoring of the road vehicle, non-road mobile machinery and shipping is planned to be included into the upcoming 14th five-year plan of air pollution prevention and control (2021-2025), aiming at assessing if air quality in high traffic flow and large population areas meets standards and how much the effect of the measure is on the air quality.
  5. A guideline on systematic monitoring needs to be developed, including the standardized distribution of monitoring stations and sensors.
  6. The life cycle analysis of NEVs is key to support rational emission and fuel consumption estimation, especially regarding the energy structure and the use of air-conditioners in the NEVs.
  7. To project future carbon emissions, new vehicle technology, fleet composition and the number of vehicles are key factors to be considered.

GIZ will continue to cooperate with the Chinese partners on effectively developing and improving MRV systems to achieve low emission transport.

For further information, please contact Ms. Wu Yingjie, Technical Advisor of the Sino-German Cooperation on Low Carbon Transport.

Wu Yingjie is Technical Advisor to the project “Sino-German Cooperation on Low Carbon Transport”. She focuses on the topics of Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning and the development of national scenarios for low-carbon transportation.

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