Volatile organic compounds in roadside environment of Hong Kong

Kin Fai HO, Steven Sai Hang HO, Shun Cheng LEE, Peter Kwok Keung LOUIE, Junji CAO, Wenjing DENG

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Vehicular exhaust emissions are one of major sources of anthropogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in urban areas of Pearl River Delta Region (PRDR). Six types of vehicle emission (VE)-dominated samples were collected at representative locations in Hong Kong in the winter of 2003. A total of 111 VOC species were quantified in the samples collected. n-Butane (31%) was the most abundant species in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-fueled VE-dominated samples, followed by propane (26%) and i-butane (25%). Toluene was the most abundant species in gasoline-fueled VE-dominated samples (16%), comprising about half of the quantified aromatic content. While ethene and ethyne have the greatest abundance in all diesel-fueled VE-dominated VOCs profiles (except at Tuen Mun Bus Depot). VOCs were also quantified at three roadside locations in Hong Kong. And ethene was the most abundant VOCs at roadside locations which accounted for 9.5 to 29% of the total quantified VOCs, except at Hong Kong Polytechnic University roadside monitoring station (PUX). Moreover, several VOCs were clearly in abundances in the roadside samples, namely toluene, ethyne, propane, i-butane, n-butane and i-pentane. Generally, strong and fair correlations were determined from the marker species of fuel vapor (i.e., LPG, gasoline, and diesel), which show significant fuel evaporation from vehicles in roadside environment of Hong Kong. Maximum incremental reactivity (MIR) was also calculated to evaluate the contributions of individual VOCs to ozone (O₃) formation potential. The largest contributors to O₃ production at Mong Kok roadside station (MKX) and Lok Ma Chau roadside station (LMX) were toluene (17 and 15% of the measured VOC reactivity, respectively), ethene (14 and 17% of the measured VOC reactivity, respectively), and propene (7 and 8% of the measured VOC reactivity, respectively), indicating the important roles of alkenes and aromatics in the ambient O₃ formation. Copyright © 2013 Taiwan Association for Aerosol Research
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1347
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


roadside environment
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds
volatile organic compound
Vehicle Emissions
traffic emission
liquefied petroleum gas
Liquefied petroleum gas
exhaust emission


Ho, K. F., Ho, S. S. H., Lee, S. C., Louie, P. K. K., Cao, J., & Deng, W. (2013). Volatile organic compounds in roadside environment of Hong Kong. Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 13(4), 1331-1347.


  • VOCs
  • Roadside
  • Diesel
  • Gasoline
  • LPG
  • Vehicular emissions
  • Chemical profiles