WEBAIR: web-based urban and industrial air quality
assessment and management

Project acronym: WEBAIR
Project name: Web-based air quality assessment and management
Project summary: WEBAIR builds a web based application service for real-time multi-media management information system for industrial, urban and regional air quality assessment and management, integrating on-line monitoring and modelling with AI components, in support of relevant EU Directives.
webair.pdfWEBAIR Eureka Project Application Form
cosignature.docCo-signature Form
partner.docPartner Description Form
CA.docConsortium Agreement

Project Description

WEBAIR will develop, test, and implement a web based information- and decision support system for urban and industrial air quality assessment and management in support of relevant EU Directives such as the Air Quality framework Directive for urban conglomerates (96/62/EEC) and major industrial emission sources such as thermal power plants (88/609/EEC) or incinerators (89/429/EEC, 89/369/EEC), and 90/313/EEC on freedom of access to environmental information.

The emphasis of the project is on real-time analysis and multi-media information, and the support of distributed and mobile clients through the Internet. The approach integrates meteorological data and forecasts, air quality and emission monitoring including mobile sources such as traffic, dynamic 3D simulation modelling and forecasting, GIS, expert systems, optimisation, decision support and reporting tools in a unified, modular client/server framework implemented as a range of web accessible application services. WEBAIR is a direct continuation and extension of E!1388 AIDAIR and several EU sponsored RTD projects under Framework 4 and 5, including ECOSIM (Environmental Telematics), ISIREMM (Integrated System for Intelligent Regional Environmental Monitoring & Management, INCO-Copernicus), SUTRA (Sustainable Urban Transportation, City of Tomorrow) and Env-e-City (Environmentally viable electronic city, eContent). It aims at developing and integrating the proof-of-concept prototypes developed there into commercially viable products through a series of pilot applications.

The basic idea is to offer an integrated set of tools to support regulatory compliance and reporting requirements for and on behalf of cities and industries subject to the above environmental directives. The basic business concept is complete or partial outsourcing of a range of web-accessible application services for distributed and mobile clients. Regulatory reporting as well as public information is the information product derived as an added value service from basic meteorological and environmental data. Value added in public-private partnership, and open access to environmental information as foreseen under (90/313/EEC), packaged as attractive, informative, and educational multi-media content for a range of user communities, are key concepts.

Technically, the emphasis is on real-time analysis, combining on-line monitoring and model-based assessment into multi-media information and report for a broad range of consumers, including the general public interested in environmental quality. The support of distributed and mobile clients through the Internet adds an additional business perspective for network and mobile phone operators

The approach integrates a range of real-time and on-line data sources and tools: meteorological data and forecasts, air quality and emission monitoring including mobile sources such as traffic from on-line observations and counts, dynamic 3D simulation modelling and forecasting, GIS, expert systems, optimisation, decision support and reporting tools in a unified but modular client/server architecture implemented as a range of web accessible application services. In addition to real-time monitoring and assessment with on-line publication of the information in real time as well as forecasts, and regular compliance reporting to meet regulatory requirements, the tools will also support strategic analysis of emission control using complex optimisation technologies.

WEBAIR is a direct continuation and extension of E!1388 AIDAIR, An Integrated Decision Support System for Urban Air Quality Management, the developed the core components of data management and modelling tools.

The project aims at developing and integrating these proof-of-concept prototypes developed in these RTD projects into commercially viable products through a series of pilot applications within the framework of a business plan and exploitation and marketing strategy that is one of the auxiliary components of the project.

Technological Development Envisaged

The technological developments in WEBAIR will focus on a number of specific closely related areas:
  • Acquisition and real-time processing of monitoring and observation data; the emphasis is on capture of potentially large volumes of diverse data, efficient storage, quality assurance (plausibility, completeness, consistency) and retrieval in support of real-time processing, integration of diverse data sources including meteorological data and forecasts, air quality monitoring, satellite imagery, emission monitoring, and traffic observations.
  • Integration of real-time modelling tools to augment the monitoring data from a few locations into a complete yet detailed spatial coverage of air quality information; in addition to the real-time nowcasting and data assimilation, short and medium term forecasts based on meteorological forecasts and dynamic emission models will be run on a regular basis, synchronised with the observation frequencies. Specific topics will include complex terrain, coastal locations and sea breeze, urban heat islands, behaviour of fine particles (PM2.5) and the explicit treatment of urban structures in dynamic 3D models.
  • Automatic translation of this information into attractive multi-media formats for web access including low-resolution mobile clients, as well as the automatic generation of summary reports over various periods according to the regulatory requirements.
  • Testing these components under real operational conditions in a number of applications and developing the necessary exception handling and error correcting methods for an automatic but highly reliable assessment and high availability mission critical performance.

Market Application and Exploitation

WEBAIR is designed as an integrated but modular set of application services that can be delivered from a dedicated service provider via the Internet. The business model envisions the tools to be offered as a service for and on behalf major industries and cities subject to the respective European Directive, on a subscription basis.

The market for this kind of outsourcing of tools required for regulatory compliance comprises about 1,000 cities in the extended European Union and geographical Europe subject to the Air Quality Framework Directive (96/62/EEC and daughter Directives), and several thousand industrial plants including thermal power plants and incinerators.

Initial costs benefit analysis shows that the system, offered as a commercial product can reach profitable operation and break even after the completion of the WEBAIR project within 5 to 7 years, depending on the assumptions on market penetration, provided that the necessary capital for marketing and the initial operational phase can be raised.

Partner sought:

WEBAIR currently includes partners from Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Finland, Portugal, Cyprus, Morocco, Italy and Lithuania. The project invites industries subject to the Major Source Directive or cities subject to the Air Quality Framework Directive as test users of the system. Technology partners sought include manufacturers of monitoring equipment and systems for meteorological data, ambient air quality, emissions, and traffic data.

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