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Air and Climate Change Research

Source / Emissions Characterization Research

Introduction
Source Characterization is the measurement of emissions from a pollution source such as a diesel truck and determining the properties of the emissions using sophisticated instruments such as a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer. We provide emissions information to numerous agencies used by national, regional, state and or local officials to improve their inventories of air pollutants, particulate matter and other precursors.  Along with this we can improve on the methodology used by others providing a more accurate characterization from mobile, stationary, indoor and natural areas. Research has focused on the NAAQS and the Air Toxics issues by

  • providing emissions information that can be used by national, regional, state, or local officials to improve emissions inventories of toxic air pollutants, particulate matter and its precursors (organics, ammonia), and ozone precursors (VOCs and NOx). Accurate inventories are essential for states and tribes to develop effective implementation plans which document the sources contributing to ambient concentrations and strategies to best manage source emissions at the lowest possible cost.
  • improving testing methodologies and techniques that can more accurately characterize emissions from various anthropogenic (mobile, area, stationary, and indoor) and natural (vegetation, trees, fires, open burning). Field studies are also conducted using these and other appropriate source measurement techniques.
  • evaluating air emissions from waste operations including incinerators and landfills. These emissions include metals and organics (with particular emphasis on dioxins and furans) emitted from various types of landfills and waste combustion systems.

Environmental Issue or Problem
Particle distributions and chemical characteristics of fine particle emissions to which people are exposed are considerably different than those that can be obtained from hot gas stack samples, new source testing methodologies were adopted or developed to capture a more representative sample of fine particulate matter that threatens human health. Once again necessity has proven to be the mother of invention and we are now invested in advancing the science of emissions spectroscopy.

Long Term Goals & APGs
Goal 1: Clean Air and Global Climate Change
Goal 3: Land Preservation and Restoration
Goal 5: Compliance and Environmental Stewardship

Clients

  • Office of Air and Radation (OAR)
  • Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA)
  • Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP)
  • Regional Offices
  • State Agencies
  • Regulated Industry

Contact
John Masters, Communications
Phone: 919-541-0634
Email: masters.john@epa.gov
U.S. EPA National Risk Management Research Laboratory
Air Pollution Prevention and Control Division
Mail Code: E343-02
Research Triangle Park, NC 27711

Projects
Our research provides emissions information used by national, regional, state, and/or local officials to improve emissions inventories of toxic air pollutants, particulate matter and its precursors (organics, ammonia), and ozone precursors (VOCs and NOx). It improves methodologies and techniques for more accurate characterization of emissions from various anthropogenic (mobile, area, stationary, and indoor) and natural (vegetation, trees, fires, open burning). Accurate inventories are essential for states and tribes to develop effective state implementation plans. Our researchers developed a portable laboratory for field testing of fine particulate matter and gaseous emissions.

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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