ASSESSMENT OF LOW-COST PARTICULATE MATTER SENSORS
The effect of particulate matter is increasingly gaining significance due to its harmful effects on human and urban ecosystems. In view of it, many communities worldwide are collecting air quality data privately to influence their policy makers to make stricter provisions for reducing harmful emissions and thereby improving their quality of life. Likewise, in many German cities, a community of air quality monitors which rely on low-cost PM Sensors is gathering momentum. Such communities possess privately-owned & low-cost air quality monitoring devices that claim to accurately measure PM concentrations and are openly accessible via internet. One such initiative is an air quality monitoring network viz. “luftdaten.info”, which contains of more than 300 low-cost sensors that consistently obtains PM data, colloquially referred as fine dust, in the city of Stuttgart as well as its surrounding districts. Besides, eight stations are continuously monitoring PM concentration in Stuttgart; these are operated by the State Environmental Agency (LuBW- Landesanstalt für Umwelt Baden-Württemberg). Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (HFT) has currently installed 7 low-cost PM sensors to monitor and study PM concentration in one of its projects. This study endeavors to relate PM 2.5 and PM 10.0 using low-cost sensors. It intends to investigate the reliability of the measured PM concentration using such low-costs sensors once these are placed horizontally and vertically apart and comparing the measures of the 7 sensors. Another objective is to compare the PM concentration measurements with a meteorological station operated by the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg in the vicinity. A correlation analysis is performed to develop understanding of relationships of PM concentration with meteorological parameters, viz. with respect to ambient temperature, air pressure, humidity, wind speed and wind direction. Furthermore, it attempts to develop a regression model using above listed meteorological parameters. Finally, deficiencies in the measurement of low-costs and its placement effects are commented. Further suggestions are made for improving the data capturing and analytical procedures while using low-cost sensors.