Fuel‐operated auxiliary heaters are a major additional source of vehicular particulate emissions in cold regions

Panu Karjalainen, Markus Nikka, Miska Olin, Sampsa Martikainen, Antti Rostedt, Anssi Arffman, Santtu Mikkonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Fuel‐operated auxiliary heaters (AHs) can be notable sources of particle emissions from vehicles. The emissions of AHs are unregulated, and the number of devices is high; therefore, they make considerable contributions to local air quality, and even the global emissions budget. Experiments for studying the emissions were performed in Finland for a total of eight selected vehicles with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) AHs installed, including both diesel‐ and gasoline‐operated heaters. We present the numerical results of particle emissions and compare the particle concentrations in the AH exhaust to values found in the tailpipe exhaust of the same vehicle. Our results show that the emissions from auxiliary heaters are typically several orders of magnitude higher than of a car exhaust when idling. This raises the question of whether the use of heaters is justified based on the goal to reduce total emissions from vehicle use; furthermore, whether fuel-operated heaters should also be applied in electric vehicles for cabin heating. More research will be needed to characterize the emissions more thoroughly to understand the air quality and climate effects from AHs, and to provide further recommendations on the use of these heaters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1105
Number of pages8
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Auxiliary heaters
  • Particle number
  • Particulate emissions
  • Vehicle emissions

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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