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Major EU funding for Matti Rissanen’s study on rapid formation of air pollutants in urban atmospheres

Published on 9.12.2020
Tampere University
Kuvituskuva: Photoholgic, Unsplash
Assistant professor (tenure track) Matti Rissanen from Tampere University has won the highly competed European Research Council Consolidator Grant. The funding was given to investigate the recently discovered autocatalytic oxidation of anthropogenic hydrocarbons. The outcome of his study helps to understand the rapid formation of air pollutants in urban atmospheres and to improve the control of those emissions.

The research topic has a particularly high relevance for improving the livelihoods of the increasing populations living in ever denser megacities of the world.

Rissanen’s research group ‘Radical Aerosol Physical Chemistry’ will use the ERC grant to combine experimental and theoretical research avenues, as neither one alone is enough to unravel the details of the studied chain-like, gas-phase oxidation chemistry.

“Some of the reactions are simply too fast to study experimentally even with the state-of-the-art mass spectrometric techniques utilized, and frequently the sizes of the molecular systems increase too much during the reaction sequence for the detailed quantum chemical computations to lose their tracking ability”, Rissanen explains.

Therefore, the best is taken from both sides and the techniques are combined in an innovative way, enabling to detect a wider array of important intermediates and products, and thus allowing to deduce the needed reaction mechanisms.

“The outcome of this project will allow a far better control of the emissions we cause to the atmosphere. The results can be used in the energy sector, for example to optimize modern combustion devices and produce cleaner fuels, but also to steer science-based, pollutant mitigation policies, Matti Rissanen says.

Crucially the novel understanding will also allow a better assessment of anthropogenic climate forcing and the influence of man on climate change.

“The goodness of the estimates crucially depends on our ability to correctly predict the influence of an emission to the atmosphere, and this information is evidently as yet incomplete” states Matti Rissanen

Matti Rissanen works as an Assistant Professor (tenure track) in the Aerosol Physics laboratory of the Tampere University Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences. His research Autoxidation of Anthropogenic Volatile Organic Compounds (AVOC) as a Source of Urban Air Pollution (ADAPT) will be implemented during 2021-2026.

Learn about Radical Aerosol Physical Chemistry research group.

Read further information on ERC Consolidator Grant recipients in 2020.