Portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS) for gaseous pollutants were firstly introduced in the United States regulation to check the in-use compliance of heavy-duty engines, avoiding the high costs of removing the engine and testing it on a dynamometer in the laboratory. In Europe, the in-service conformity of heavy-duty engines has been checked with PEMS for gaseous pollutants since 2014. To strengthen emissions regulations with a view to minimise the differences between on-road and laboratory emission levels in some cases, PEMS testing, including solid particle number (SPN), was introduced for the type-approval of light-duty vehicles in Europe in 2017 and for in-service conformity in 2019. SPN-PEMS for heavy-duty engines will be introduced in 2021. This paper gives an overview of the studies for SPN-PEMS from early 2013 with the first prototypes until the latest testing and improvements in 2019. The first prototype diffusion charger (DC) based systems had high differences from the reference laboratory systems at the first light-duty vehicles campaign. Tightening of the technical requirements and improvements from the instrument manufacturers resulted in differences of around 50%. Similar differences were found in an inter-laboratory comparison exercise with the best performing DC- and CPC- (condensation particle counter) based system. The heavy-duty evaluation phase at a single lab and later at various European laboratories revealed higher differences due to the small size of the urea generated particles and their high charge at elevated temperatures. This issue, along with robustness at low ambient temperatures, was addressed by the instrument manufacturers bringing the measurement uncertainty to the 50% levels. This measurement uncertainty needs to be considered at the on-road emission results measured with PEMS.
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