- Course: PhD in Transport Studies
- PhD title: Real-driving emission performance and potential reduction from vans including those with refrigeration
- Nationality: Chinese
Zhuoqian Yang is a postgraduate researcher in the Institute of Transport studies. For her PhD, she investigates possible interventions for pollution caused by commercial vehicles that deliver food items to supermarkets, organisations and businesses. Zhuoqian is part of the Spatial Modelling and Dynamics research group and works with Professor Simon Shepherd, Senior Research Fellow Eleonora Morganti and Dr James Tate.
“I’ve always paid close attention to environmental problems since I was a child,” said Zhuoqian. “More recently, I have been investigating how much pollution is emitted by refrigerated vans making commercial food deliveries. The diesel engines powering the refrigerated units significantly elevate the levels of emissions, which is a current and topical problem.”
Demand for grocery home deliveries has surged since the outbreak of COVID-19, resulting in a significant growth in the deployment of refrigerated vans, explained Zhuoqian. Therefore, it is both timely and significant to assess the real-world refrigerated van emissions with a finer degree of accuracy than current studies present.
“Many of us have ordered groceries online,” said Zhuoqian. “But it is the temperature-controlled vans, or refrigerated vans, that will ultimately bring the fresh goods to our home. My research first aims to assess the real-world emissions of refrigerated vans. Second, it aims to look as potential pollution reduction methods. This could include, for example, changing the way food distribution routes are managed on a practical level or the frequency of trips.”
She continued: “I have been fortunate enough to work with James Tate, Eleonora Morganti, and Simon Shepherd, who specialise in vehicle emissions and urban freight and system dynamics, respectively. I’ve been supported by their expertise during my postgraduate studies, which has helped me to grow in confidence. Sharing similar research interests has helped me to refine and develop my topic of study.”
I’ve been supported by the expertise of my supervisors, which has helped me to grow in confidence. Sharing similar research interests has helped me to refine and develop my topic of study.
Zhuoqian's research aims to assess the real-world impact of emissions of refrigerated vans and investigate potential pollution reduction methods
Zhuoqian explained that her supervisors guide her in different ways, which is supported by an interdisciplinary approach. This introduces a variety of perspectives that enrich her critical arguments.
Zhuoqian said: “My supervisors have helped me to grow to my fullest potential. In the future, I plan to continue to work in the field of academia, because I hope I can be someone who encourages and supports others like my supervisors do.”
She continued: “Being part of the Spatial Modelling and Dynamics research group is brilliant. We have regular workshops within the group, and everyone has the chance to present in front of others.
“Some of my colleagues in my group are also studying vehicle emissions, but from a different perspective. They often raise some very interesting questions which could help me think out of the box; discussions with them really inspired me.”
My supervisors have helped me to grow to my fullest potential. In the future, I plan to continue to work in the field of academia, because I hope I can be someone who encourages and supports others like my supervisors do.
Leeds Doctoral College
Postgraduate researchers at Leeds are automatically part of Leeds Doctoral College when they enrol at the University. The College has been a great source of support, Zhuoqian explained.
She said: “Leeds Doctoral College provides us a wide range of opportunities to develop ourselves in academic, professional and personal aspects. I took a lot of training courses in the first year of my PhD project, which includes time management, academic writing, software learning, presentation skills, teaching methods, and more.”
Leeds Doctoral College provides us a wide range of opportunities to develop ourselves in academic, professional and personal aspects... it makes me feel connected with other researchers.
She added: “Not only are these skills of massive benefit for my future research career, but the Doctoral College also makes me feel connected with other researchers.”