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Air and Climate Change Research

Basic Information - Accomplishments

As the Air Research Program progresses into the second decade of the 21st century, we have an even greater recognition of the need to develop effective environmental solutions and communicate those solutions in a clear and concise way to the public. As stewards of public resources, we are intent on continuing our record of accomplishment in ways that use those resources most effectively.

Our accomplishments to date

The Air Research Program accomplishments include:

  • Developing Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) Technology
  • Developing and Demonstrating Radon Mitigation Systems
  • Controlling Mercury from Municipal Waste Combustors and Coal-Fired Power Plants
  • Identifying and Evaluating Substitutes for ozone-depleting Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • Characterizing Emissions from Biogenic Sources to Support Effective Ozone Control Strategies
  • Developing Methods to measure Emissions from Open Burning
  • Developing a Decision Support Tool to help understand options for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management

Our History

The APPCD has a long and illustrious history, traceable back to 1955 in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a small in-house Engineering Research and Development Section within the US Public Health Service. In 1967, the organization grew into a larger program where both intramural and extramural research was conducted. In these early years, there was a heavy focus on control of air pollutants from stationary sources, with a particular emphasis on sulfur oxide control. At the formation of EPA in 1970, the organization became the Control Technology Division and was transferred to the Office of Air Programs (now the Office of Air Quality and Planning Standards -OAQPS) located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (RTP). The Cincinnati-based staff gradually transferred to the RTP location, and in 1971, the research group was transferred to the Office of Research and Development (ORD), where it has remained.

The Control Technology Division became the Industrial Engineering Research Laboratory, and was later renamed the Air and Energy Engineering Research Laboratory. As these names indicate, the focus of the organization was on engineering research, with an emphasis on efforts to develop, demonstrate, and deploy technical solutions that could be used in the industrial and energy sectors to reduce air pollutant emissions. In 1995, as part of an extensive reorganization of ORD, we were combined with other engineering organizations in ORD to form NRMRL, and the RTP-based laboratory became the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Division.

Over the last five decades, APPCD and its predecessor organizations have made concrete and meaningful differences in protecting human health and the environment from adverse releases of air pollutants through the development of technologies and practices that have reduce emissions of sulfur oxides emitted by power plants naturally occurring radon in homes and offices, mercury from waste combustion, and dioxins generated by incineration. One can gauge the scope of our contributions to environmental protection by considering the range of topics in which we have made significant contributions:

  • Sulfur Oxides from Coal-Fired Power Plants
  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx ) from Coal-Fired Power Plants; Low NOx- Burners and Re-burn Technology
  • Control of Mercury from Municipal Waste Combustors and Coal-Fired Power Plants
  • Infiltration of Radon into Buildings – Mitigation Options
  • Indoor Air Source Characterization – Emissions Methodologies
  • Stratospheric Ozone Depletion – Substitute Chemicals
  • Characterize Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions from Biogenic Sources
  • Decision Support Tool for Comparing Municipal Solid Waste Management Options
  • Expert Systems to Evaluate Cleaning and Coating Alternatives
  • Mercury Continuous Emission Monitors
  • Use of Tomography for Area Source Air Pollution Characterization
  • Open Burning
  • Linking PM Sources to Adverse Health Effects

Air and Climate Change Research | Water Research | Ecosystems Restoration Research | Land Research | Technology: Sustainable Technologies Research, Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV), and Technology Assessments

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