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Evaluating the Impact of a Wall-Type Green Infrastructure on PM10 and NOx Concentrations in an Urban Street Environment

TitleEvaluating the Impact of a Wall-Type Green Infrastructure on PM10 and NOx Concentrations in an Urban Street Environment
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsVillani, Maria Gabriella, Russo Felicita, Adani Mario, Piersanti Antonio, Vitali Lina, Tinarelli Gianni, Ciancarella L., Zanini Gabriele, Donateo Antonio, Rinaldi Matteo, Carbone Claudio, Decesari Stefano, and Saenger Peter
Volume 12(7)
Start Page839
Date Published06/2021
Keywordsurban air pollution; nature-based solutions; green infrastructure; PMSS Lagrangian model; NOx; PM10

Nature-based solutions can represent beneficial tools in the field of urban transformation for their contribution to important environmental services such as air quality improvement. To evaluate the impact on urban air pollution of a CityTree (CT), an innovative wall-type green infrastructure in passive (deposition) and active (filtration) modes of operation, a study was conducted in a real urban setting in Modena (Italy) during 2017 and 2018, combining experimental measurements with modelling system evaluations. In this work, relying on the computational resources of CRESCO (Computational Centre for Research on Complex Systems)/ENEAGRID High Performance Computing infrastructure, we used the air pollution microscale model PMSS (Parallel Micro-SWIFT-Micro SPRAY) to simulate air quality during the experimental campaigns. The spatial characteristics of the impact of the CT on local air pollutants concentrations, specifically nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10), were assessed. In particular, we used prescribed bulk deposition velocities provided by the experimental campaigns, which tested the CT both in passive (deposition) and in active (filtration) mode of operation. Our results showed that the PM10 and NOx concentration reductions reach from more than 0.1% up to about 0.8% within an area of 10 × 20 m2 around the infrastructure, when the green infrastructure operates in passive mode. In filtration mode the CT exhibited higher performances in the abatement of PM10 concentrations (between 1.5% and 15%), within approximately the same area. We conclude that CTs may find an application in air quality hotspots within specific urban settings (i.e., urban street canyons) where a very localized reduction of pollutants concentration during rush hours might be of interest to limit population exposure. The optimization of the spatial arrangement of CT modules to increment the “clean air zone” is a factor to be investigated in the ongoing development of the CT technology.


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