Characterization and source identification of VOC species in Bogotá, Colombia



In this article, volatile organic compounds (VOC) were characterized in ambient air at three different monitoring sites within the urban perimeter of Bogotá, Colombia. On-line VOC measurements were conducted using a Synstech Spectras portable gas chromatograph with a temporal resolution of 30 min. Average VOC concentrations were higher at two of the sampling sites, which are characterized by intensive industrial and commercial activities, and high vehicular activity. Analyses of the diurnal behavior of total VOC showed that concentrations tend to be higher in the morning (at around 8:00 LT) and during the evening (around 22:00 LT). Such trends suggest the influence of road traffic activity in the surroundings of the measuring sites on VOC levels. According to our results, alkanes are the most abundant hydrocarbons in the ambient air in Bogotá (about 80% of the total VOC), while alkenes represent only 15% of the total VOC. We computed the ozone formation potential (OFP) using the maximum incremental reactivity (MIR) concept and evaluated the role of each VOC in the O3 formation. These results show that ethene, propene, n-butane, i-pentane and isoprene are the species with the highest OFP (noting that high concentrations are not necessarily linked with elevated O3 production). Finally, we used principal components analysis to identify the sources of different VOC. Our results showed that most of the compounds included in this study are emitted by road traffic. The receptor modeling also shows that the top-five compounds in terms of O3 production come mainly from the exhaust of gasoline vehicles.


Urban air pollution, on-line VOC monitoring, ozone formation potential, source identification.

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