Source apportionment of ambient non-methane hydrocarbons in Hong Kong: Application of a principal component analysis/absolute principal component scores (PCA/APCS) receptor model

Hai Guo, Tao Wang, P. K.K. Louie

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

263 Citations (Scopus)


Receptor-oriented source apportionment models are often used to identify sources of ambient air pollutants and to estimate source contributions to air pollutant concentrations. In this study, a PCA/APCS model was applied to the data on non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) measured from January to December 2001 at two sampling sites: Tsuen Wan (TW) and Central & Western (CW) Toxic Air Pollutants Monitoring Stations in Hong Kong. This multivariate method enables the identification of major air pollution sources along with the quantitative apportionment of each source to pollutant species. The PCA analysis identified four major pollution sources at TW site and five major sources at CW site. The extracted pollution sources included vehicular internal engine combustion with unburned fuel emissions, use of solvent particularly paints, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas leakage, and industrial, commercial and domestic sources such as solvents, decoration, fuel combustion, chemical factories and power plants. The results of APCS receptor model indicated that 39% and 48% of the total NMHCs mass concentrations measured at CW and TW were originated from vehicle emissions, respectively. 32% and 36.4% of the total NMHCs were emitted from the use of solvent and 11% and 19.4% were apportioned to the LPG or natural gas leakage, respectively. 5.2% and 9% of the total NMHCs mass concentrations were attributed to other industrial, commercial and domestic sources, respectively. It was also found that vehicle emissions and LPG or natural gas leakage were the main sources of C3-C5alkanes and C3-C5alkenes while aromatics were predominantly released from paints. Comparison of source contributions to ambient NMHCs at the two sites indicated that the contribution of LPG or natural gas at CW site was almost twice that at TW site. High correlation coefficients (R2> 0.8) between the measured and predicted values suggested that the PCA/APCS model was applicable for estimation of sources of NMHCs in ambient air.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-498
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


  • APCS
  • Non-methane hydrocarbons
  • PCA
  • Receptor model
  • Source apportionment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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