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Colorado State University and University of Colorado receive grants to advance air quality science

Awards part of $6 million in research funding to improve air quality models

07/09/2020
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

DENVER (July 9, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that two Colorado universities will receive research grants to advance scientific modeling that will contribute to the understanding air quality conditions. The awards are $5,959,842 million in EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program funds awarded to nine institutions to improve air quality models used to simulate ozone, particulate matter (PM), regional haze, air toxics, and emerging pollutants.

Colorado State University will receive $400,000 to gain insights on how emissions from wildfires and volatile chemical products (for example, personal care products, cleaning agents, and coatings) contribute to the formation of fine particles in the atmosphere. In addition, the University of Colorado will receive $396,135 to incorporate volatile chemical products compounds to current chemical mechanisms to improve air quality model predictions of ozone in U.S. urban areas.

“Under President Trump, Americans are breathing the cleanest air ever recorded and we are committed to continuing this progress for decades to come,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This EPA-funded research will further our understanding of air quality and help us continue providing clean air for all Americans, regardless of their zip code.”

Research supported by these grants will improve air quality models, specifically the component of models that represent how chemicals react in the atmosphere (known as “chemical mechanisms”). This research will advance our understanding of the sources and chemistry of air pollutants and how they move in the atmosphere. It will also inform the development of strategies for improving air quality.

Other universities receiving the funding announced today through EPA’s STAR program include:

  • Columbia University, New York, N.Y., to develop tools that will improve the computational efficiency of chemical mechanisms for use in air quality models.
  • Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., to improve modeling of isoprene, halogen, and mercury chemistry; and increase the computational efficiency of chemical mechanisms in a widely used model to support air quality management.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., to develop a systematic approach towards developing chemical mechanisms for formation of particulate matter from complex organic compounds by using state-of-the science laboratory data.
  • University of California, Riverside, Riverside, Calif., to develop chemical mechanisms for emerging sources of pollutants, such as wildland fires and volatile chemical products, and approaches for increasing the computational efficiency of chemical mechanisms for use in air quality models.
  • University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill., to improve the computational efficiency of chemical mechanisms using machine learning algorithms.
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Md., to develop software packages using machine learning methods to gain insights on atmospheric chemical processes and increase computational efficiency of chemical mechanisms for use in air quality models.
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., to develop and validate a new way of simulating heterogeneous chemistry of dinitrogen pentoxide to improve modeling of ozone and particulate matter.

For more information on EPA’s STAR recipients:  https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/649/records_per_page/ALL