Emissions Characterization

Emissions Characterization Map

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To accurately assess the effect of any emission source on ambient air quality, it is first necessary to identify, as completely as possible, the chemical characteristics of all emission sources that could be affecting the ambient receptors of interest. The emissions characterization component of the DOE-NETL air quality research program is designed to obtain detailed information on fine particulate emissions from fossil-fuel-based power systems, both in-stack and in the resultant plume. The combustion of coal can produce both "primary" particles (e.g., fly ash) and gaseous species (SO2, NOx) that react in the atmosphere to produce "secondary" particles (sulfates and nitrates). Therefore, research efforts include the collection and analysis of primary particles, acid gases, and other condensables, and the study of the formation and transport of secondary particulate matter from power plant sources and other sources (e.g. automobiles, steel mills' coke ovens, wood smoke) that are likely to affect ambient air quality in the Upper Ohio River Valley region. The results of these efforts will provide source signatures that could be used in source-receptor assessments and may be valuable in related human-exposure studies. Development of an updated emissions inventory for the region is also included under this component of the program.