Improving the Quality of Measurements Made by Alphasense NO2 Non-Reference Sensors Using the Mathematical Methods

Mariusz Rogulski, Artur Jerzy Badyda, Anna Gayer, Johnny Reis

Conventional NO2 monitoring devices are relatively cumbersome, expensive, and have a relatively high-power consumption that limits their use to fixed sites. On the other hand, they offer high-quality measurements. In contrast, the low-cost NO2 sensors offer greater flexibility, are smaller, and allow greater coverage of the area with the measuring devices. However, their disadvantage is much lower accuracy. The main goal of this study was to investigate the measurement data quality of NO2-B43F Alphasense sensors. The measurement performance analysis of Alphasense NO2-B43F sensors was conducted in two research areas in Poland. Sensors were placed near fixed, professional air quality monitoring stations, carrying out measurements based on reference methods, in the following periods: July–November, and December–May. Results of the study show that without using sophisticated correction methods, the range of measured air pollution concentrations may be greater than their actual values in ambient air—measured in the field by fixed stations. In the case of summer months (with air temperature over 30 °C), the long-term mean absolute percentage error was over 150% and the sensors, using the methods recommended by the manufacturer, in the case of high temperatures could even show negative values. After applying the mathematical correction functions proposed in this article, it was possible to significantly reduce long-term errors (to 40–70% per month, regardless of the location of the measurements) and eliminate negative measurement values. The proposed method is based on the recalculation of the raw measurement, air temperature, and air RH and does not require the use of extensive analytical tools.

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