Energy conversion can give rise to considerable primary and secondary particle emission to the air as a result of energy production (the combustion of fossil fuels and renewable fuels) and transport ( by road, rail, sea or air). Particles arising from energy production and traffic dominate the particulate content of air in all environments: outdoors, at home and at workplaces.
Particles in the atmosphere influence the radiation balance of the earth, and their presence is thus important with regard to climate change. Airborne particles also have a direct effect on people’s health, both indoors and outdoors, causing, for example, respiratory diseases and cardio-vascular conditions. Research is concerned with the global, regional and local effects of particles, as well as direct effects on our immediate environment, i.e. in houses, schools, offices and industrial workplaces. Energy-saving measures (e.g. reduced heating or ventilation) in buildings may make it more important to be able to deal with particles in the air. Research forms the basis for the development of technology to reduce emissions, and can therefore be of great importance for the long-term sustainable development of energy production, transport systems and the built environment.