Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Britt A. Holmén


Despite the increasing popularity of hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs), few studies have quantified their real-world particle emissions from internal combustion engine (ICE) re-ignition events (RIEVs). RIEVs have been known to occur under unstable combustion conditions which frequently result in particle number emission rates (PNERs) that exceed stabilized engine operation. Tailpipe total PN (5 to 560 nm diameter) emission rates (#/s) from a conventional vehicle (CV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) 2010 Toyota Camry were quantified on a 50 km (32 mi) route over a variety of roadways in Chittenden County, Vermont using the Total On-board Tailpipe Emissions Measurement System (TOTEMS). While HEVs are known to have significant fuel conserving benefits compared to conventional vehicles, less is known about the relative emissions performance of HEVs. This study is the first to characterize RIEVs under a range of real-world driving conditions and to directly compare HEV and CV PNER during driving on different road sections.

A total of 28 CV and 33 HEV sampling runs were conducted over an 18-month period under ambient temperatures ranging between -4 and 35 °C. A road classification based upon speed and intersection density divided the route into four different road sections: Freeway, Rural, Urban I and Urban II. Due to the distinct on-off cycling of the HEV ICE, a new operational mode framework (ICE OpMode) was developed to characterize shutdown, off, re-ignition and stabilized HEV ICE operation. Road section was found to affect overall ICE OpMode distribution, with HEV engine-off operation averaging 57%, 36% and 5% of total operation for combined Urban, Rural and Freeway road sections, respectively. Re-ignition frequency was found to range between 11 and 133 events per hour, with spatial density ranging between 0.1 and 5.6 events per kilometer of roadway. A total of 3212 re-ignition events were observed and recorded, and mean HEV PNER during RIEVs, on average, ranged between 2.4 and 4.4 times greater than that of HEV Stabilized operation. Approximately 65% of all re-ignition events resulted in a peak PNER exceeding the 95% percentile for all ICE-on activity in both vehicles (9.3 x 1011 #/s), known as a High Emission Event Record (HEER). RIEV operation made up only 7.4% of total ICE-on operation for both vehicles but accounted for 35.4% of all HEERs.

Overall, total particles emitted during HEV operation associated with re-ignition events ranged from 5% for Freeway driving to 60% for Urban I driving. Comparisons between vehicles found an average of 37% and 7% fuel conserving benefits of the HEV during Urban I and Freeway driving, respectively. However, a different effect was found for PN emissions. During Urban I driving, where RIEVs were most frequent, on average HEV PNER was 2.3 times greater than overall mean CV PNER. For Freeway driving, where the HEV operated similar to a conventional vehicle, mean CV PNER was 2.4 times greater than mean HEV PNER. PNER from partial re-ignition events following an incomplete ICE shutdown (no period of prior engine off operation) were on average 1.65 times greater than those occurring when the ICE shutdown for at least one second.

The typical fuel consumption benefits of HEVs in urban driving are associated with a tradeoff in PN emissions. The HEV ICE operating behavior has implications for the spatial distribution of PN hot-spots as well as the associated micro-scale modeling of alternative vehicle technology emissions. It is likely that building a model of HEV behavior based upon CV activity will be appropriate, with consideration of a hybridization factor and, as a result of these analyses, a re-ignition factor.



Number of Pages

174 p.