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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates 3 Review of the DOE Fine Particulate Research Program This chapter reviews the DOE-FE fine particulate research program. The committee briefly reviews each project and recommends improvements for increasing the chances of the project meeting its objectives. OVERALL STRATEGY The overall goal of the DOE-FE fine particulate (PM2.5) research plan is: to ensure that the best science and technology are available for any regulatory decision-making related to the health and environmental impacts of ambient fine-particulate matter and regional haze. This goal will be achieved through a well-focused, highly-lever-aged research program that includes ambient air quality monitoring and sample analysis, atmospheric chemistry and pollutant formation and transport studies, source emissions characterization, and cost-effective control technology development. Where opportunities for synergism exist, the program may also address other ambient air quality issues, such as ground-level ozone and mercury, and the impact of fine particulate matter on climate change (FETC, 1999a). At the time of this review, the DOE-FE program and plan did not include activities related to other issues mentioned in the goal of the program, namely, ground-level ozone, mercury, and impact on climate change. In light of the program's limited budget and the challenges to "ensur[ing] that the best science and technology are available for any regulatory decision-making related to the health and environmental impacts of ambient fine particulate matter and regional haze," DOE has prudently decided to limit the scope of the program. However, there may be a trade-off between reducing ambient PM2.5 and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Control technologies implemented for the purpose of reducing ambient PM2.5 (mainly reducing emissions of oxides of sulfur and nitrogen) may decrease the efficiency of coal-fired power plants to produce electricity. If so, these power plants will produce more greenhouse gases per unit of electricity generated. Therefore, DOE should include an evaluation of the cross-pollutant impacts of its programs. The program has three specific objectives: Evaluate the concentration and chemical and physical composition of ambient fine particulate matter and precursor gases, and possibly other pollutants of concern (e.g., ozone, mercury), in order to provide improved resolution of deposition patterns, source-receptor relationships, emission trends, diurnal, seasonal, and annual variability in composition, management strategy effectiveness, and regional haze issues and to support health-based studies. Characterize both primary and secondary fine particulate emissions from fossil-fuel-based power systems to better understand their potential impacts on ambient air quality/regional haze and their potential role in human exposure. Also, investigate the atmospheric formation and transport mechanisms associated with ambient fine particulate matter and the interactions between secondary fine particulate and ozone precursors. Develop and evaluate technologies to cost-effectively control both primary particulate matter and secondary fine particulate precursors should further reductions in coal-based power plant emissions be necessary to address PM2.5 health or visibility concerns.
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates TABLE 3-1 Estimated Budgets for Fiscal Year 1999 for Activities in the DOE Research Program on Fine Particulates Activity DOE Expenditure DOE Share Upper Ohio River Valley Project $2,000,000 100% Great Smoky Mountains National Park $150,000 26% Atlanta monitoring site $150,000 3% Birmingham monitoring site $750,000 (expected)a Clean Environment Development Facility $500,000 31% Cumberland plume characterization $150,000b 25% Perfluorocarbon tracer technology $150,000 5% Control technology solicitationc $1,500,000 80% a A congressional directive mandates funding at this level for the establishment of monitoring stations in the southeastern United States, but no funds had been awarded as of June 1999. b Of the $450,000 DOE provided to TVA in fiscal year 1998, about one-third went to the 1999 Cumberland plume experiments. c This expenditure does not include the current projects listed in Appendix B. DOE issued a solicitation in the spring of 1999 for new projects on emission-control technologies. DOE-FE's fine particulate research program is driven by three guiding principles: (1) maximal lever-aging of research funds, (2) the establishment of partnerships with key stake-holders,1 and (3) the sharing of results. The program schedule is based on EPA's implementation schedule for the PM2.5 NAAQS and is designed to assist in the collection and analysis of a significant volume of data over a four-year period starting in late 1998 (e.g., collection of data from more than a thousand monitors of ambient PM2.5) and, at the same time, working toward the development of emission-control strategies and technologies. The DOE-FE research plan and program includes research in three main areas: ambient PM2.5 sampling and chemical analysis characterization of source emissions and plume/ atmospheric chemistry studies development of control technologies The committee agrees that these are appropriate areas for research for the DOE-FE to pursue although these areas could be extended to support epidemiological studies (see recommendations). The committee also questions whether the development of control technologies for primary PM emissions should be pursued at this point in the research program. The DOE has taken the lead and is the primary funding source for some of the projects in its research program. For others, DOE has followed a strategy of entering into partnerships with other groups as a contributing and/or minor participant to take advantage of ongoing studies. Thus, DOE plays an active, leading role in some projects and a passive, secondary role in projects directed by other groups. Table 3-1 shows the estimated budgets for current research projects and indicates DOE's involvement. AMBIENT PM2.5 SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS The DOE-FE program includes the establishment of monitoring sites designed to provide data for determining the relationships between emissions from coal-fired power plants and other point and nonpoint sources, ambient PM2.5, regional haze, and human exposure. Four projects are focused on sampling and analysis: (1) the UORVP (Upper Ohio River Valley Project), (2) visibility in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, (3) ARIES (the Aerosol Research Inhalation Epidemiology Study) in Atlanta, Georgia, and (4) the Birmingham, Alabama, site. Upper Ohio Valley River Project The largest portion of the budget is devoted to the UORVP. At present, DOE is the sole sponsor and the lead developer and overseer of this project. The objective of the UORVP, an extensive air-quality monitoring 1 Stakeholders include industry, the health-effects research community, states, environmental groups, and the EPA.
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates program in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area, is to provide reliable data that can be used for the following purposes: the characterization of ambient PM2.5 chemistry source apportionment (i.e., source-receptor modeling) the development of a management strategy (e.g., for SIPs) performance evaluation of the FRM the support of human exposure/health related studies The Pittsburgh area was selected to represent a region in which urban sources are superimposed on an elevated ambient PM2.5 concentration pattern, which is believed to be associated with a combination of emissions from a dense concentration of coal-fired electrical power generating stations in a cluster of major industrial facilities. The UORVP is beginning to collect monitoring data on air quality from four stations. The establishment of multiple sites is a strength of the DOE program because data from multiple sites facilitates source-receptor analysis and establishes spatial gradients in concentration. Two of the sites are heavily instrumented, one in Lawrenceville, representing local urban conditions in the Pittsburgh area, and a second in a rural-remote area of Holbrook, Pennsylvania (south and west of Pittsburgh bordered by the Ohio River on the west and West Virginia on the south). These stations are supplemented by two satellite stations located in or near Athens, Ohio, and Monongalia County, West Virginia, that measure only PM2.5 by the FRM method. Conditions at these two sites and the Holbrook site are considered to be characteristic of the region and are nominally upwind of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. The UORVP network is supplemented by a research measurement site at the FETC hilltop location just south of Pittsburgh. The research and methods development for this site are still being defined. The Pittsburgh sites have been selected to characterize the flow of air across the elevated areas of the city. They are not sited to characterize the influence of low-level flow in the three deep river valleys that come together in Pittsburgh. In this sense, the UORVP sites will not fully characterize the complex air flow in this mountainous region of Pennsylvania, because variations with altitude will probably be significant, especially under meteorologically stable conditions and at night. Comparing the flow along the river valleys with the flow at higher elevations would be useful but expensive. A detailed study of the spatial variations would require a large number of monitoring stations. After the current project has run for a year or two, the DOE-FE may wish to consider a more elaborate study. Except for periods of intensive sampling (30 days during two winters and one summer [a photochemically sensitive season] to document differences), detailed particle measurements will be taken once every six days on the same schedule as the national PM2.5 monitoring program. During the intensive 30-day periods, four samples per day will be taken at Lawrenceville and one sample per day will be taken at Holbrook; however, only 50 percent of the samples will be analyzed chemically. Continuous data on gaseous pollutants will be collected at Lawrenceville and Holbrook for ozone, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and NOx. Surface meteorological data (wind speed, direction, humidity, temperature, barometric pressure, rain, and solar radiation) will be monitored to supplement routine data reported in the area. A radio-acoustic sounding system at Holbrook will be used to obtain continuous data on upper-level wind temperature and mixing depth to supplement twice daily routine soundings with rawinsondes by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The collected particle samples will be analyzed for trace elements, organic and elemental carbon, and soluble ions (e.g., NO3-, SO42-, NH4+, H+, Cl-, NH3, and HNO3). DOE plans to develop and implement a quality control/ assurance plan, but no description was available to the committee, although the sampling program has already begun. A quality contro/assurance plan is essential for ensuring the compatibility of the data with data from other programs. The data obtained in the UORVP will be analyzed initially for diurnal patterns, variations between urban and rural sites, seasonal differences, episodic variations, correlations between gaseous precursors and PM2.5 levels, and correlations between ozone and PM2.5 levels. According to material provided to the committee, the results will provide a generalized description of the types of PM2.5 sources involved and will determine the impact of sampling artifacts such as condensation and evaporation on FRM performance, provide various correlations (diurnal, urban, rural, etc), provide data on PM2.5 concentrations and compositions for a part of the country not previously characterized, provide a data base for others to use for: health studies, source-receptor analysis, management system
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates development, and provide a platform for further scientific research. The major weaknesses in the UORVP at this point appear to be the lack of quality assurance and control of the collected data, incomplete data sets for establishing source-receptor relationships, and the absence of a monitoring program that could support epidemiological studies. In addition, planning for data analysis and interpretation will be critical to the success of the UORVP. To confirm the credibility of the information collected, an external audit program will have to be implemented. It was not clear from the material supplied to the committee, if an external audit is planned. The data collection and filter analysis program will be complex. The committee was not given detailed descriptions of the method for collecting, storing, and transferring filters to the laboratories or of how the filters will be archived. Quality assurance on the collection, transport, and analysis of the filters will be crucial to the success of the program. For example, some samples for the organic and nitrate species on the filters volatilize readily, and inappropriate procedures could compromise the evaluation of the FRM method, the characterization of seasonal and diurnal patterns, and the determination of source-receptor relationships. Assessing data loss rates is also important for determining which data will be available for potential users. As DOE implements its quality assurance and control program, it may wish to consider using EPA's quality control and assurance process as a guide. After reviewing the project objectives and data collection plans, the committee concluded that the ambient fine particulate data alone would only be sufficient for evaluating the FRM and generally characterizing PM2.5 properties in the Pittsburgh area. To achieve the other project objectives, additional data will be required. Source-apportionment modeling will certainly require detailed profiling of local and regional sources. Therefore, an obvious priority for the project should be to determine the fuel characteristics of midwestem power plants for their ash chemistry and to examine the data collected by power plants on current particulate, sulfur dioxide, and NOx emissions. DOE will have to determine whether existing source profiles are adequate or whether new source profile measurements will have to be made. The major local sources of PM material and gaseous precursors will have to be established and their generic profiles evaluated before local and regional-scale source contributions can be determined. In addition, the collected data will be of limited value for estimating emissions trends until a valid source-receptor relationship has been established. A limited trend analysis could be undertaken to determine the nature of ambient PM (e.g., some seasonal patterns). However, long-term annual trends cannot be established from this program as currently envisioned. The monitoring program at the sites could establish the continuity between present conditions and previous conditions if the data were comparable to the data from other studies, such as the Sulfate Regional Experiment in the 1970s, the Eulerian Model Evaluations Study in the 1980s, and the current CASTNet. The development of SIPs, however, will require source-receptor models, which this project will not be able to supply. The FRM performance evaluation will depend on a high-quality monitoring and analysis program that accounts for sernivolatile compounds and filter processing. However, based on the information supplied by DOE, the committee was unable to determine if such a program is in place. At present no health or exposure studies are planned for the Pittsburgh area using the UORVP data set. Personal exposure studies would have to be done concurrently with UORVP ambient monitoring for the data to be compared directly, and the protocols of the exposure and UORVP studies would have to be closely coordinated. DOE will have to initiate contact with the exposure science community (e.g., EPA) to stimulate the conduct of exposure studies that could take advantage of UORVP's data. To the committee's knowledge, no epidemiological studies are planned for the Pittsburgh area. However, these studies could be conducted either contemporaneously with the UORVP or later using data collected in the UORVP and elsewhere. Data collected every sixth (or twelfth) day could easily miss influential episodes and not allow sufficient characterization of air quality exposure for such studies. Therefore, to support epidemiological studies, the DOE should consider a daily monitoring program over an extended period, at least at Lawrenceville. Joint planning with the epidemiology community would also be desirable. A joint epidemiological study would most likely identify additional variables (e.g., the number concentration, or surface area distribution of particles) that should be measured in the UORVP. Now that the UORVP has been launched, DOE should involve potential users (i.e., stakeholders) of the observations in the planning and execution of the project to encourage stakeholders to take "ownership"
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates of the data. Coordination with stakeholders, such as EPA and state and local authorities in the mid-Atlantic and midwestern regions, would increase the value of the project for decision makers. The involvement of other DOE entities, including scientists at the national laboratories, could also enhance the program by providing aircraft sampling and meaningful analyses of the results. A coordinated effort by DOE and other federal and state agencies could result in the collection of more comprehensive data than any one group could obtain independently. Because funds are available from outside of DOE for developing EPA "supersites" and PM-speciation sites, DOE could attempt to enhance the UORVP by promoting collaborative efforts. The UORVP should also exploit its links with the North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (NARSTO) group to involve a broad community of researchers. Broad-based involvement in the UORVP, possibly through active participation by the external advisory committee, would also maximize the benefits of the project. Visibility in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park The TVA, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), state and local agencies, and university groups are conducting a joint research monitoring program, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) Visibility Project, to evaluate the causes of visibility degradation in the GSMNP. Through an interagency agreement, DOE-FE is supporting TVA's participation in the project. The main issue addressed by the program is the composition of PM2.5 mass and the degree to which the emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides from power plants contribute to fine PM and regional haze. The research plan calls for establishing an extended monitoring site (the proposal refers to it as a "supersite") near the GSMNP Class I area.2 The sampling will consist of two co-located FRM PM2.5 samplers, one operated with Teflon and another with a quartz filter, for complementary chemical analysis. Both FRM samplers will be operated every third day (daily during intensive field experiments). Aerosol light scattering, sulfur dioxide, ozone, NOx, and other parameters will be monitored continuously. The plan calls for using an IMPROVE sampler from the National Park Service for redundancy on measurements of mass and chemical composition. The initial plan is to set up the station in the first year, conduct the aerosol monitoring in the second year, and analyze the data in the third year. Overall the GSMNP Visibility Project will complement studies from the 1970s and later in the Shenandoah Valley and recent studies in the Smoky Mountains. The data should assist in confirming the earlier results, including those derived from the IMPROVE network. The data may also suggest the year-to-year variations in fine particle composition that may influence the source attribution of particles that reduce visibility. Sulfates contribute more than 50 percent of the fine particle mass in the region and an even higher percentage to light extinction that reduces visibility, and power plants are the most significant industrial sources of sulfates. For this reason, DOE and FETC should support a monitoring program in this region. The PM2.5 sampling and characterization plans for the GSMNP Visibility Project do not include light scattering measurements. TVA has proposed adding instruments at its monitoring sites for measuring light scattering measurements, and DOE indicated to the committee that DOE plans to provide about $70,000 to TVA for additional monitoring, including light scattering measurements. In general, the instrumentation for PM2.5 FRM and speciated monitoring is appropriate for the GSMNP Visibility Project. The extended monitoring by TVA will be co-located with the existing IMPROVE monitoring site at Cove Mountain to take advantage of TVA's long-term experience in aerosol sampling and analysis. A number of deficiencies in the project, however, could be corrected. The most apparent weakness of the project is the lack of a data analysis plan that specifies how the relative contribution of power plants to the fine particle mass and haze in the GSMNP will be determined. Second, no provision is made in the sampling and analysis program for the analysis of tracer aerosol species or for other means of identifying power plant contributions. (The monitoring of gaseous sulfur dioxide will be helpful for documenting the impact of direct plumes, but it is not adequate for apportioning regional sulfate contributions.) Third, it does not appear that the aerosol water content will be measured. Determination of the water associated with the haze aerosol 2 Class I areas are "pristine" areas, primarily national parks and wilderness areas. There are 156 designated Class I areas in the United States.
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates will be necessary for attributing light extinction to different aerosol species. And fourth, operating the FRM samplers every third day will provide a limited data set for characterizing regional haze. Atlanta Site The objective of ARIES in Atlanta, Georgia, is to investigate (via epidemiological and exposure studies) the relationships between air quality and human health and produce results by the year 2000 in time for EPA's review of health data for the revised NAAQS for PM. PM may be an indicator (although not necessarily a cause) of adverse effects associated with inhalation; other pollutants that covary with PM or specific fractions (e.g., ultrafine, fine, coarse), rather than total PM, may be the cause. Unlike previous studies that have focused on PM alone, ARIES focuses on all potential agents in the air, including volatile organic compounds, ultrafine particles, airborne allergens, and specific PM components. This comprehensive approach will enable a more thorough investigation of the relationship between human health and air composition. The study is fundamental by design, so the results will be generic rather than location-specific. Field monitoring for this 18-month study began in July 1998. The cooperative structure of ARIES, which has invited collaboration with EPA, has led to the designation of the Atlanta ARIES site as the first EPA "supersite." The ARIES site is located approximately 4.2 km (2.5 miles) northwest of downtown Atlanta in an area of mixed industrial-residential land use. Other than scattered oak trees, there are few obstacles to air flow around the site, particularly in the direction of downtown Atlanta. Immediately surrounding the site are one and two-story buildings, generally warehouses and storage sites. Other light industrial facilities are located within approximately 500 meters of the site. Residential neighborhoods of single-family dwellings, most of them constructed prior to 1950, are located a little farther (500 to 1,000 meters) from the site. Ambient PM2.5 mass concentration and composition, as well as related gas-phase and particle-phase pollutants, will be monitored daily or more frequently for 18 months. The air quality field measurements also include sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, NO, nitrogen dioxide, NOx, ozone, HNO3, NH3, and speciated total volatile organic compounds and oxygenated organics in the gas phase; major ions (including H +), elements, water-soluble metals, and carbon in the particle phase; pollen and mold; and particle number and size distribution from nanometers to micrometers in diameter. PM mass and speciation will be sampled discretely (24-hour sample time) using Teflon, nylon, and quartz filters and an array of samplers designed to account for gas-phase interferences and the loss of volatile PM components during sampling. Continuous measurements of ambient PM mass will be made with a tapered element oscillating microbalance, and particle size distribution data will be collected continuously by three particle counting instruments covering particle diameters of 3 to 2,000 nanometers. Inorganic gases will be measured continuously. Gas-phase organic samples will be collected and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy every 24 hours. Daily mortality data will be collected and analyzed in a multipollutant ecological time-series study. In addition, daily data on emergency room visits will be collected from all large hospitals in the Atlanta area focusing on admissions for coronary and respiratory symptoms. A parallel study will be conducted to evaluate the relationship between air quality and the physiologic responses of a group of patients with severe cardiac conditions. A personal/indoor/outdoor exposure assessment study is also planned to help epidemiologists assess how well ambient measurements represent personal exposures. A health study is planned for a subset of participants to determine the association between exposure and cardiac response. The goal of all of these studies is to determine the specific agents of health concern in ambient air pollution. Current plans call for the monitoring period to terminate at the end of 1999. Health and air quality data will be analyzed in early 2000 so that the results can be published in peer-reviewed publications by mid-year 2000 and can be incorporated into EPA's next review of the PM NAAQS. A data analysis plan has been developed. The spatial variability of many of the air quality variables will be investigated through several studies. A jointly funded EPA-ARIES study will measure PM2.5, major PM2.5 fractions (ions, elemental carbon, and organic carbon), and gaseous criteria pollutants outside the homes of 40 individuals for about two months; measurements are planned at five sites per day. Under the Assessment of Spatial Aerosol Composition in Atlanta (ASACA) in 1999, daily samples of PM2.5 and major species will be collected at four sites. Three tapered-element oscillating microbalances will also collect continuous PM2.5 data at various sites. Air
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates quality data for the various NAAQS pollutants are also available from the EPA's Aerometric Information Retrieval System network and for a rural site upwind of Atlanta. Data on airborne allergens are also being collected at a second site in Atlanta to provide some measure of the spatial variability of concentrations of pollen and mold spores. Although DOE's contribution to the ARIES program ($150,000) represents only 3 percent of the total budget for this project, it qualifies DOE for a seat at the table with other knowledgeable players and provides an opportunity for DOE to relate the ARIES results to data from other programs. Birmingham, Alabama, Site DOE-FE was instructed by Congress to provide $750,000 to the Southern Research Institute for monitoring studies in the southeastern United States. Southern Research Institute has submitted an unsolicited proposal to FETC suggesting a set of measurements in Birmingham that could supplement the Southeastern Aerosol Research and Characterization (SEARCH) program, which operates a rural network for the measurement of particulates, inorganic gases, and meteorological conditions in the Southeast. Because the proposal has not been made public, no details were available for the committee to evaluate. A joint project of this kind seems sensible, however, in light of the regional combined rural-urban ambient gas and PM2.5 measurements currently being taken by the SEARCH program and because Birmingham has been the focus of sustained efforts to characterize particulate matter for many years. CHARACTERIZING EMISSIONS AND PLUME/ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY DOE is involved in three research projects to characterize primary particulates and precursors to secondary aerosols: (1) the collection and analysis of primary PM2.5 emissions from the McDermott Technology, Inc. (MTI), Clean Environment Development Facility in Alliance, Ohio; (2) the investigation of plume and atmospheric chemistry at the TVA's Cumberland Station; and (3) the development of perfluorocarbon tracer technology to determine the contributions of regional air pollution sources in both the United States and Mexico to regional haze in the Big Bend National Park in Texas. Clean Environment Development Facility Because NOx emissions from coal-fired plants are known to contribute to acid rain, ground-level ozone, and secondary PM formation, EPA has proposed reducing NOx emissions from coal-fired power plants substantially to 0.15 lbs NOx/million Btu. The current average emission of NOx is approximately 0.6 lbs/million Btu. In response to this challenge, the Ohio Coal Development Office (OCDO) is cofunding a pilot-scale demonstration at MTI for the removal of NOx and primary particulate matter. The MTI project has the following objectives (FETC, 1998): develop and test an ultra low-NOx pulverized coal burner for plug-in retrofitting of boilers without boiler tube modification assess the impact of low-NOx pulverized coal burner operation on NOx and PM2.5 emissions provide high-quality data to ensure that the potential PM2.5 regulations are based on good scientific information MTI has a state-of-the-art facility for making integrated evaluations of combustion and post-combustion emission-control options. DOE and OCDO are each providing $500,000, and MTI $512,000, of the total $1.512 million budget. The DOE-FE PM2.5 research program states that MTI "will develop a comprehensive, high-quality database characterizing fine particulate matter emissions from coal-fired electric utility boilers." A review of the draft test plan for the DOE-funded study, the "Fine Particulate Characterization and Ultra Low-NOx Burner for the Control of NOx and PM2.5 for Coal Fired Boilers," indicates that the project will be a much more modest effort (FETC, 1999b). According to the test plan, PM2.5 data will be collected only at the MTI facility, for Pittsburgh-8 coal only, employing the new ultra low-NOx pulverized coal burner at three very similar test conditions. Consequently, the database will fall far short of the "comprehensive database" alluded to in the DOE research program. Nevertheless, DOE could derive great value from a comparison and validation of the various PM sampling procedures. However, the test plan does not indicate whether such comparisons and validation activities are planned. Characterization of the Cumberland Plume TVA's Cumberland Fossil Plant (CUF) is one of the
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates nation's largest coal-fired power plants (2,600 MW). EPA ranked its 1993 emissions of sulfur dioxide (346,000 tons/year) as the second largest in the nation; this figure does not reflect the subsequent installation of scrubbers (EPA, 1997). CUF's NOx emissions (107,000 tons/year) were also ranked second among the nation's point sources, and its PM emissions (2,200 tons/year) would have ranked it twentieth among all types of PM10 point sources if EPA had classified it as PM10 rather than as "total" PM (EPA, 1999). Thus, this plant is clearly an important platform for research on plume and atmospheric chemistry, in the context of changing emission-control requirements. The CUF project is part of the 1999 Nashville Study, which is a follow-on to an earlier project, the Southern Oxidant Study. The CUF project is motivated partly by a major anomaly in the NOx oxidation of this plume during the ozone-forming process, and partly by a concern about the high visibility of the plume. The subtext of this research program involves interactions among pollutants and the unintended consequences of emission-control systems. The Phase I study at CUF in 1998 found, for example, that the installation of wet scrubbers to remove sulfur dioxide cooled the plume, reduced atmospheric dispersion, failed to reduce sulfuric acid emissions proportionately, and increased the conversion of NO to nitrogen dioxide, thus making the plume more visible. A new shorter stack was installed along with the scrubbers, ostensibly because the reduced sulfur dioxide emissions would compensate for the reduced atmospheric dispersion. However, ground-level impacts of other emissions were thus increased. Phase II of the CUF study, cofunded by DOE-FE and EPRI, will evaluate the effects of recently installed low-NOx burners, which are intended to reduce ozone formation by modifying combustion conditions. Unintended consequences of this technology may be increased carbonaceous emissions; the rates of formation of nitrate particles may also be affected. Data from the Southern Oxidants Study suggest that the reductions in NOx emissions planned for CUF may not in fact yield the anticipated reductions in ozone. The net result of reduced NOx emissions may thus involve a trade-off between PM and ozone. EPRI's participation in this project will include the use of its comprehensive model for analyzing power-plant plume physics and chemistry. The objectives of this project are to characterize the formation of particles and their optical properties in a plume as a function of downwind distance, to clarify the relationship between plume visibility and regional haze, and to quantify the reliability of a plume model for simulating particle formation and optics. This characterization will involve some in-flight measurements. In the committee's opinion, the broad research outline available at this time is well thought out, and given the scope of the program, the overall cost seems quite modest (which is partly attributable to the extensive use of TVA-owned instrumentation and equipment, including a helicopter). However, the documentation that was provided is not fully up to date, and additional information provided by the TVA principal investigator raised a number of concerns (Tanner, 1999): Low-NOx burners will be installed on only one Cumberland unit in time for the 1999 summer measurements. This corresponds to the net reduction of NOx in the plume of about 25 percent, which raises questions about whether the experiments can detect significant differences in the plume compared to the current plume without low-NOx burners. In the summer of 2000, a 50 percent reduction in NOx will be achieved, which should provide enough change to be detected. The 1998 in-flight measurements did not provide baseline data (at high NOx levels) on carbonaceous particles in the plume, which would be expected to be at very low concentrations. Trace metal levels will not be measured. No provision has been made to measure ambient NH3, which is an important component of the plume chemistry model. It is not clear whether any other significant model components have been overlooked. Problems with instrumentation were encountered in 1998, but it is anticipated that these have been corrected. Ancillary flights by Brookhaven National Laboratory and NOAA mentioned in the proposal will be more concerned with urban air around Nashville than with the air at Cumberland. Notwithstanding these concerns, the committee believes that this focused research program is relevant to DOE-FE's mission. EPA's traditional approach to pollution control has often been limited to controlling one pollutant at a time, and the focus in this program on pollutant interactions is both timely and appropriate. Development of Perfluorocarbon Tracer Technology Research in the area of plume chemistry by DOE-FE is currently focused on haze, rather than health effects.
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates The TVA's CUF project described above was initiated because of concern over increased plume visibility following the implementation of emission-control technology. The CUF project originated in response to a real-world problem, will test a hypothesis, and will be used to test a model (Tanner, 1998). In contrast, the DOE-FE has not provided a complete rationale for its support of another plume/ atmospheric chemistry project, the development of perfluorocarbon tracer technology, which consists of a suite of tracers, related injection and sampling equipment, and various instruments for field and laboratory analysis of the tracers. Specifically, DOE has not explained how the project will contribute to the further development of the technology, which would be used in the Big Bend Regional Aerosol and Visibility Observational (BRAVO) Project to determine the contributions of regional air pollution sources in both the United States and Mexico to regional haze observed in the Big Bend National Park in Texas. In this context, DOE notes that it is important that the contributions of the Carbon I and Carbon II power plants to decreased visibility in the park be quantified. 3 The details of DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory's contribution to the apportionment of regional haze in the Big Bend National Park was not included in the information provided to the committee although it was clear that tracers would be used to estimate dispersion parameters for various power plants. But two groups are involved in the project, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of California-Davis, and the committee was not provided with enough information to assess their relative roles. Perfluorocarbon tracer technology measurements have been made for decades but not always successfully. The committee was not provided with enough information to evaluate the originality of the project, plans to overcome past problems, or the extent to which lessons from past experience have been considered. The committee is also concerned that the Mexican government has withdrawn its support for tagging Mexican power plants with perfluorocarbon tracers. As a backup plan to deal with this contingency, EPA and the National Park Service began releasing three tracers from Eagle Pass and one from the Big Brown power plant in early July 1999. Two tracers from Eagle Pass will be moved in the beginning of September 1999 to San Antonio and Houston, where they will be released from a tower and the Parish power plant, respectively. Eagle Pass was chosen to represent the Carbon I and Carbon II power plants. The committee was unable to determine if the backup plan will produce reliable estimates of the contributions of all power plants to regional haze in the Big Bend National Park. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ON EMISSION-CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES One of the objectives of the DOE-FE research program for fine particulates is to develop and evaluate technologies for cost-effective emission controls for primary PM and secondary fine particulate precursors to meet anticipated emissions standards for coal-fired power plants. The following projects to develop control technologies are included in the fine particulate research program (FETC, 1999a) (see Appendix B): Advanced Hybrid Particulate Collector. The University of North Dakota's Energy and Environmental Research Center is developing a novel process for controlling emissions of primary fine particulates. The process incorporates the best features of an electrostatic precipitator and a bag house. The advanced hybrid particulate collector will be tested on the slipstream of an operating coal-fired utility boiler. Second-Generation Advanced Reburning for High-Efficiency Control of NOx. The Energy and Environmental Research Corporation is developing a second-generation advanced reburning concept for high-efficiency, low-cost NOx emission control for coal-fired boilers. Selective Noncatalytic Reduction/Selective Catalytic Reduction Hybrid for Controlling NOx Emissions. GPU Generation, Inc., is carrying out full-scale testing of a combined noncatalytic and catalytic reduction hybrid system for controlling emissions of NOx. Selective Noncatalytic Reduction Field Test Program. This program involves a large-scale demonstration of technology at American Electric Power's 600 MW Cardinal Station in Brilliant, Ohio. 3 Carbon I, or Rio Escandilo, is a 1,200 MW coal-fired power plant, and Carbon II is a 1,400 MW coal-fired power plant; both are located approximately 20 miles south of the U.S.-Mexican border and only 125 miles from the park. Sulfur dioxide emissions from these power plants were calculated at about 240,000 tons/year.
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates These projects were begun under previous programs and are scheduled to be completed soon. All of them will be superceded by projects funded by the recent DOE solicitation for proposals on control technologies described below. Consequently, in agreement with the sponsor, the committee did not evaluate them. The DOE's FETC is responsible for developing a strategic goal for DOE to promote and secure competitive and environmentally responsible energy systems that serve the needs of the country. FETC also manages the Advanced Research and Environmental Technologies (AR&ET) program, which includes the development of advanced environmental control technologies for both existing (retrofit technology) and new coal-fired power plants and provides high-quality technical information on present and emerging environmental issues for use in regulatory and policy decision making. DOE recently issued a program solicitation, ''Emission Control Technology for Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5), Ozone, and Related Environmental Issues," "to solicit innovative technical approaches to ensure that domestic fossil-fuels (e.g., mainly coal) can remain an environmentally sound component of the U.S. overall energy mix well into the next century" (FETC, 1999c). The solicitation is intended to support the testing and development of emission-control technologies, concepts, and processes that have a high probability of commercial success and that can cost effectively and efficiently reduce the levels of NOx and PM. The program will be limited to utility boilers that combust U.S. coals as primary fuel and that can be retrofitted to existing coal-based power systems. Control of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Emissions from Coal-Fired Electric Utility Boilers DOE is soliciting technologies, processes, and concepts: (1) with the potential to meet or exceed the NOx emissions target of 0.15 lbs NOx/million Btu and realize cost savings of at least 25 percent over state-of-the-art control technologies; (2) that will have a negligible impact on balance-of-plant issues; (3) that are applicable to a wide range of boiler types and configurations; and (4) that can maintain performance over a wide range of feed coals and operating conditions. Proposals are being invited in two Technical Topic Areas: (1) advanced technologies and systems, and (2) field testing and evaluation. Technical Topic Area 1 includes advanced combustion controls, advanced flue-gas treatment, and integrated systems. Technologies for advanced combustion control that reduce NOx emissions would enable a significant portion of the existing inventory of steam-electric utility power generators to realize their full economic life cycles and meet acceptable emissions-level standards. Advanced flue-gas treatments should be capable of removing at least 90 percent of the inlet NOx and meet the emissions target of 0.15 lbs NOx/million Btu. Integrated systems would incorporate multiple control systems (e.g., enhanced combustion controls coupled with flue-gas treatment). Technical Topic Area 2 is focused on field parametric testing and evaluations of full-scale commercial NOx control systems to optimize their performance or reduce their cost. In general, technologies for controlling NOx emissions from coal-fired electric generators have advanced rapidly during the past 15 years. Low-NOx burners and other combustion control technologies have been instrumental in meeting the requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments for coal-fired power plants. But these technologies may not be able to meet the emission level proposed in the NOx-SIP. Meeting emissions levels of 0.15 lb NOx/ million Btu will require more efficient and reliable post-combustion controls to supplement low-NOx burners. DOE's goal is to develop and commercialize technologies that would be ready for commercial deployment by 2002-2004. Control of Fine Particulate Emissions from Coal-Fired Electric Utility Boilers The Technical Topic Areas under this option are (1) primary PM emissions control, and (2) acid aerosol/ condensable emissions control. Technical Topic Area 1 is focused on (1) reducing the cost and improving the efficiency of collecting primary particulates (e.g., fly ash), especially potentially toxic constituents, such as trace metals, that may be associated with the finest particle sizes. Technical Topic Area 2 focuses on technologies, processes, or concepts for the control of acid gases, such as SO3, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen fluoride, and related condensible vapors that can form ultrafine particles upon cooling. Although the committee recognizes that DOE should fund some development of control technologies in preparation for meeting more stringent emission standards for coal-fired boilers, the committee is not convinced that DOE should become heavily involved in the development of new primary PM2.5 control technologies until a better understanding of source-receptor
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates relationships, health effects, and the sources that need to be controlled has been developed. DOE would be more prudent to concentrate first on a better theoretical understanding of primary and secondary PM 2.5 formation and the costs and limitations of current control technologies. Currently available options of gas-fired combined-cycle turbine systems (in the short term) and coal-gasification combined-cycle systems (in the long term) are much better options than end-of-stack, retrofitted controls for reducing air pollution from power production facilities. By advocating the replacement of older pulverized coal units with these new systems, DOE could minimize new investments in emission-control technologies. The program solicitation indicates that total program funds are unlikely to exceed $12 million, and the fiscal year 1999 obligation is expected to be $1.5 million. DOE expects to make seven to twelve awards. GENERAL FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The combustion of coal to generate electricity produces both gaseous precursors to the formation of secondary fine particles and primary PM2.5. However, the linkage between coal-fired boiler emissions and the concentration and composition of ambient fine PM has not been completely determined. Although many studies have been published, mostly supporting associations of PM, in general, and adverse health effects, no studies have definitively identified a particular chemical constituent(s) as a causative agent. Emissions from coal-fired power plants will continue to be targeted for reduction to mitigate the environmental effects of fine particulates and other pollutants. The committee recognizes that the DOE-FE research program is only one component of a much larger national effort to clarify the origin, formation, and control of fine particulates. Given its limited resources, DOE-FE must carefully select activities that are coordinated with complementary studies by other entities. The committee also recognizes that DOE-FE was required to respond rather rapidly to congressional legislation and directives with limited resources to address a complex issue. The following comments and recommendations are intended to assist DOE and FETC improve its research program. The general findings and recommendations are programmatic and relate to the DOE-FE fine particulate research program as a whole. The project-specific findings and recommendations appear in the next section. General Findings General Finding 1. The DOE-FE fine particle research program has been implemented in a relatively short time under congressional mandate. The program has chosen to address its objectives by establishing a "keystone" ambient air measurement program in a region of western Pennsylvania, which is believed to be influenced not only by local urban sources, but also by a large complex of regional point sources, many of which are coal-burning electric generating stations. Thus the region presents an opportunity to characterize the atmospheric processes on a mixture of local and regional sources in a large urban area (Pittsburgh). The air measurement program is supplemented by atmospheric studies, one of visibility impairment and PM2.5 concentrations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and one in Atlanta, Georgia, an elaborate study of PM2.5 and associated air pollution combined with health assessments. The DOE program also includes a field investigation (summer 1999) of PM2.5 formation and haze in a large power plant plume, exploratory investigations of changes in particle emissions with NOx-control technology, and a request for preliminary studies of new pollution-control technologies suitable for retrofitting large power plants. General Finding 2. The DOE-FE fine particulate research program is focused on emissions from the use of coal, a major national resource, for electric power generation. The program touches on many of the current issues associated with emissions from coal-fired power plants. In its entirety, this ambitious program has considerable merit and should produce some useful information on directions for the future. General Finding 3. The DOE-FE fine particulate research program would benefit from more long-term strategic planning. Because DOE was forced to respond rapidly to congressional mandates and new regulations, the program is largely ad hoc and does not have a cohesive integrated strategy. DOE has attempted to take advantage of available opportunities by adopting the approaches of others and has not focused sharply enough on key issues, such as source-receptor relationships. Consequently, program elements are not completely integrated into a comprehensive long-term plan. Although some of the program elements (such as ARIES in Atlanta and the Cumberland project) address testable hypotheses, this is not the case for many other program elements.
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates General Finding 4. The present budget is spread over three diverse program areas, none of which has enough resources to achieve DOE-FE's objectives. Inadequate resources will prevent key issues from being brought to timely conclusions and in some cases could limit DOE's leadership role. The committee found evidence that the program staff have taken advantage of external expertise to establish program linkages and to optimize DOE's resources. However, DOE should sharpen the focus of its projects to ensure that high priority elements are adequately funded. General Finding 5. The current DOE-FE research program does not include a quantitative means of linking sources and ambient particle composition. Intensive characterization of PM2.5 emissions (primary and secondary) by chemical composition will be necessary for quantitative analyses of contributions of various sources to ambient fine particle mass concentrations at selected receptors. Because recent and planned reductions in emissions of sulfur dioxide and NOx required by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments will change the profiles, updated and regionally specific emission profiles of coal-fired power plants will be critical for future research. It is not clear that the current program will provide updated profiles. General Finding 6. The DOE-FE fine particulate research program has relied extensively on others to initiate linkages to its program elements. Effective linkages with other groups are vital to enhancing the value of data generated by DOE studies. The committee found little evidence to indicate that the program has successfully established effective linkages with other programs and studies. General Finding 7. Although the congressional mandate called for the early development of cost-effective control technologies for PM2.5, the committee questions the wisdom of DOE using its very limited funds to pursue this objective at the present time. First, the committee sees little value in pursuing control technologies for the control of primary PM, which is not a big issue for coal-fired power plants. Second, until the implementation of control technologies for emissions of NOx and sulfur oxides is completed, the additional work required to control secondary particulates cannot be defined. Finally, the committee is concerned that DOE's resources are not sufficient to support a meaningful contribution to the development of control technology. Therefore, it may be premature and risky for DOE to focus on next-generation technology before the technologies currently under demonstration have been fully evaluated. Until these operational demonstrations have been completed and assessed, performance targets for new designs cannot be defined. General Finding 8. Passive involvement in other projects is not an optimal way to develop a program. An active program will require additional personnel to provide the needed leadership and to oversee internal and external program elements. The program will need knowledgeable, experienced people to support the management team. General Finding 9. Current research on PM2.5 is spread among many agencies, and the coordination among the research programs by other agencies, especially EPA and other parts of DOE, has been poor. Because of limited resources, attempts at coordination have been ad hoc and sporadic. One avenue for integration of the DOE-FE program and other federal programs is FETC's participation in monthly meetings of the interagency Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources Air Quality Research Subcommittee. Successful coordination will require that all relevant agencies be proactive and allocate sufficient resources and personnel to facilitate interaction. General Recommendations General Recommendation 1. The DOE-FE should develop a five-year strategic plan for the fine particulate research program consistent with the EPA PM2.5 NAAQS implementation schedule for data collection and the development of state implementation plans. In addition to setting goals, defining metrics for program progress, establishing review processes, and budgeting resources, the following elements should be included in the plan: a strategy to build on the current investment in the Upper Ohio River Valley Project and other experiments based on the experience gained in 1998-1999 time and resources for thorough analyses and interpretations of the results of current projects, with specific commitments to assess and integrate the results into a comprehensive report that could be useful for follow-on projects in the next two to three years coordination and integration of the program with
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates studies and activities of other state and federal agencies, academia, and the private sector, including EPA's speciation and supersite sampling network, and the PM research portfolio outlined by the NRC Committee on Research Priorities for Airborne Particulate Matter scientific approaches to determining the contributions of coal-fired power plants that would enable the quantification of current contributions and predictions of changes in ambient PM2.5 concentrations after the implementation of emission controls the investigation of testable scientific hypotheses, for example: Coal-fired power plants contribute at least one-fourth of the PM2.5 sulfate in urban areas of the eastern United States Coal-fired power plants are not significant contributors to ambient PM2.5 as far away as or farther than 1,000 km from their locations Ambient PM2.5 concentrations and visibility impairment in the eastern United States respond nonproportionally to changes in power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide Requirements for controlling sulfur dioxide and NOx emissions from power plants can be met by changing fuels and current emission-control technologies a state-of-the-art air quality model, with plume and grid capability, to improve estimates of the effects of emissions from coal-fired power plants on local and regional receptors source characterization and source apportionment using ambient monitoring data that could also be used for testing deterministic models resources (manpower and funding) consistent with objectives and schedules, prioritized activities, and contingencies to adapt to changing congressional appropriations significant input from stakeholders (including academic communities, research organizations, industry, the health-effects research community, states, environmental groups, the Environmental Protection Agency) to establish linkages and increase the program's visibility, value, and impact, and develop specific mechanisms for coordinating and disseminating the research on fine particulates among all stakeholders a program-wide technical advisory committee to review all stages of the program performance specifications for next-generation control technologies based on an assessment of the demonstrated capabilities of current technologies to control PM2.5 emissions and the directions adopted by the electric utilities to meet the requirements for reducing sulfur dioxide and NOx in the next few years General Recommendation 2. Sufficient resources should be allocated to high priority items over a five-year planning horizon to support the in-depth research necessary to meet the goals of the DOE-FE fine particulate research plan. General Recommendation 3. Expertise to supplement the FETC staff should be formally included in the planning and execution of the program to ensure that the program will yield credible conclusions about the effects of coal-fired power-plant emissions on ambient PM2.5 concentrations and the options for reducing them. DOE should explore greater integration of its program through the interagency Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources Air Quality Research Subcommittee. AMBIENT PM2.5 SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS The DOE-FE PM2.5 research program includes measurements designed to clarify the relationship between ambient PM2.5 concentrations, regional haze, and potential human exposure and emissions from coal-fired power plants. The measurements will be focussed on geographical areas where many other major point and nonpoint sources contribute to ambient PM2.5 concentrations or their gaseous precursors. Four projects in the program are focussed on ambient sampling and analysis. Upper Ohio Valley River Project (UORVP) Findings Finding 1. The paired urban-rural UORVP sites in the Pittsburgh area have many of the characteristics of an EPA supersite. They also have the capability of providing additional measurements to augment data taken at the supersites that would help characterize PM2.5. The observations collected from these sites should significantly enhance our knowledge of urban and rural PM2.5 chemistry in this geographic area. A coordinated effort by DOE and other federal and state agencies could result in the collection of more comprehensive data than any one group could collect independently.
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates Finding 2. To ensure that the data collected are comparable and credible and that they meet the goals of the project, oversight of the internal quality control, as well as an external audit program, will be absolutely necessary. The committee's review of the current practices in the UORVP did not indicate that either of these elements was in place. Finding 3. The data alone will not be sufficient to achieve program objectives, except for the FRM evaluation and general characterization of PM2.5 properties in the Pittsburgh area. The data will be of limited value for source apportionment unless estimates of source-receptor relationships are based on credible source profile chemistry. Finding 4. The current sampling program will indicate the characteristics of ambient PM2.5 mass concentrations in the Pittsburgh area in the presence of reactive gases. No health effects or exposure studies are planned for the Pittsburgh area that will use the UORVP data set. Direct comparisons of data would require that exposure studies be conducted contemporaneously with the UORVP data collection. Using the data for short-term epidemiological studies or for episode characterizations would require daily sampling (or even short-term sampling every few hours). These changes would substantially increase the value of the data but would require additional resources. Finding 5. A plan for data analysis is critical. The goals of the UORVP will be met only if one or more experienced investigators lead the analysis and interpretation of the data and if adequate resources are provided. The value of the data would be enhanced if a group of stake-holders were involved at this stage to work with DOE and its contractors to define data needs and to analyze and interpret the resulting data. Recommendations Recommendation 1. By working with stakeholders, the Upper Ohio River Valley Project (UORVP) would support productive research, scientific interaction, and data collection, similar to those planned and under way at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supersites. The UORVP linkage with the North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (NARSTO) group should be exploited as much as possible to involve a broad community of researchers in the project. Broad-based involvement in the project, possibly through the participation of NARSTO science teams, could increase support and utilization of the program. The program should work with EPA and the states to co-locate an EPA supersite or speciation site at one or more sampling sites in the study area. Recommendation 2. A quality control/quality assurance program should be defined, reviewed, approved, and implemented. This program should include an external audit and targets for data-loss rate. The DOE-FE should consider using consultants to provide advice, technical expertise, and oversight. DOE should also develop a detailed description of procedures for collecting, transporting, and analyzing all samples. Recommendation 3. The external advisory group for the Upper Ohio River Valley Project should be more actively involved in program development. Regular discussions and workshops should be held to address elements of the project and encourage scientists to make use of the data. Recommendation 4. Current emissions inventories, source profiles, and data on emissions chemistry should be reviewed for their applicability to the project. DOE should make a commitment to obtain source profile data for key sources that have the potential to influence the air quality in the Pittsburgh area, including selected coal-fired power plants, transportation sources, and large coking or manufacturing facilities. Recommendation 5. To improve the data on mass concentrations, particle size distributions (including ultrafine particles) should be measured, perhaps using portable units that can be moved from site to site. Recommendation 6. The program should encourage other investigators or institutions to undertake studies to determine the value of using monitoring data of ambient air quality as a surrogate for personal exposure in epidemiological studies. The program should also encourage others to initiate concomitant health studies that might benefit from data collected by the program. Recommendation 7. The DOE-FE should reevaluate the project design features, such as the frequency of sampling, based on the experience from the Aerosol Research Inhalation Epidemiology Study (ARIES) in
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates Atlanta to ensure that the data collected meets the needs of contemporaneous or future epidemiological and exposure studies. Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visibility Project Findings Finding 1. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visibility Project will attempt to determine the component of regional haze associated with regional coal-combustion emissions. Sulfates are said to contribute up to 50 percent of the fine particle mass concentration in this region, and an even higher percentage to light extinction, which reduces visibility. Large stationary sources, including power plants, surrounding the park are believed to be the most significant sources of sulfur oxides. For this reason, DOE-FE should continue to support this project. In the committee's review of the project, no measurements were found to determine the effects of water exchange with particles or with the semivolatile components of particles suspended in the air. Both of these factors could complicate the interpretation of the visibility measurements. Human visual impressions and other measures of visibility are necessary adjuncts to these studies. The committee did not find that these were included in the project. Finding 2. One weakness in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visibility Study is the omission of a data analysis plan to link power-plant emissions with the ambient measurements. The committee could not determine what methods would be used to establish source-receptor relationships. Finding 3. In the sampling and analysis program, no provision is made for the analysis of tracer aerosol species or other means of identifying power-plant contributions. (The monitoring of gaseous sulfur dioxide will be helpful for documenting the direct effects of plumes, but it is not adequate for apportioning regional contributions.) Finding 4. Operating federal reference method (FRM) samplers every third day will provide only a limited data set for characterizing regional haze. Samples taken every day for a short time (e.g., from May to September) would be more likely to enable a credible determination of sources. Recommendations Recommendation 1. A data analysis plan is necessary for determining the relative contribution of power plants to fine particle mass and regional haze in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park area. Analyses should include the effects of water vapor exchange with particles, as well as with semivolatile material, including organic compounds, that may affect the concentration of in situ fine particle mass. Recommendation 2. Optical effects and concentrations of fine particle mass should be measured on a daily basis, particularly during the hazy season from May through September. Measurements should be segregated by daytime and nighttime conditions to correlate diurnal changes with changes in visibility. The Atlanta Site Findings Finding 1. The Aerosol Research Inhalation Epidemiology Study (ARIES) in Atlanta is focusing on a broad set of measurable gases and particles in the air, including PM2.5, volatile organic compounds, ultrafine particles, airborne allergens, and specific components of particulate matter. This comprehensive approach, one of the first of its kind, is expected to enable future studies of the relationships between short-term health responses and changes in air composition. ARIES is fundamental in design and will involve an impressive number of atmospheric scientists and health scientists working together. The experiment represents state-of-the-art design for health-effects assessments and a prototype for future studies. The role of DOE and FETC in this study is passive, but it does afford them an opportunity to learn from the experience of ARIES investigators in designing studies for the Pittsburgh area. Finding 2. A personal and indoor-outdoor exposure assessment study is included in the plan to aid epidemiologists in assessing how well ambient measurements represent personal exposure levels. A health-effects study for a subset of participants is planned to determine the relationship between exposure and cardiopulmonary responses. These combined studies are expected to improve our understanding of how air pollution in large metropolitan areas influences health.
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates Finding 3. Limited personnel have made it difficult for DOE to make use of the data and information being developed in the ARIES program. Recommendation Recommendation 1. DOE should take advantage of the early results of the Aerosol Research Inhalation Epidemiology Study (ARIES) to develop a concept for a similar or more elaborate study in the Pittsburgh area, perhaps comparing summer and winter conditions. DOE should increase its staff so it can actively participate in the ARIES project. The Pittsburgh study should be promoted in collaboration with EPA as a project that would achieve the health-related goals of UORVP. The Birmingham, Alabama, Site No details of this program were provided to the committee. EMISSIONS CHARACTERIZATION AND PLUME/ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY DOE and FETC have committed themselves to three small, short-term exploratory research projects aimed at characterizing aspects of primary particles and secondary aerosol precursors in power-plant combustion emissions or in plumes. Clean Environment Development Facility Finding Finding 1. The primary objective of this project is the development and testing of an ultra low-NOx burner that could be retrofitted to existing equipment. A secondary objective is to assess the impact of this burner on emissions of NOx and primary PM2.5. The test plan, however, will yield limited data on PM2.5 and will fall far short of its stated objective of developing "a comprehensive, high-quality" PM2.5 emissions database. Cumberland Plume Characterization Finding Finding 1. From the broad outline provided to the committee, this project appears to be a reasonable experiment for investigating the near-stack conditions of PM-related reactions in the plume of a large power plant. Given the scope of the project, the overall program cost seems to be quite modest, which reflects the extensive use of TVA-owned instrumentation and equipment (including the use of a helicopter). Finding 2. This focused research project is in keeping with the mission of DOE's Office of Fossil Energy. EPA's traditional approach to pollution control has often been limited to focusing on one pollutant at a time. Therefore, the focus of this project on pollutant interactions is both timely and appropriate. A study of interacting phenomena in the plume will enable investigators to design more elaborate studies on specific plants to determine optimal approaches to reducing emissions of PM, sulfur dioxide, and ozone precursors, as well as hazardous air pollutants. Finding 3. Beginning the project in the summer of 1999 may have been premature because low-NOx burners have been installed on only one of the Cumberland units before the study. The net reduction in NO x in the plume from the plant is expected to be approximately 25 percent, which raises a question about whether the experiment will be able to detect significant differences in emissions and near-stack chemistry between this unit and the plants without low-NOx burners. By the summer of 2000, when more units will be equipped, a 50 percent reduction in NOx emissions can be expected. Recommendation Recommendation 1. DOE should consider repeating the summer program at Cumberland in 2000, when the reduction in NOx emissions is expected to double. A commitment to a summer 2000 study would allow time for DOE to design additional measurements into the study for other plume sampling and near-stack PM2.5 characterization. Development of Perfluorocarbon Tracer Technology Findings Finding 1. No rationale was provided to the committee for further development of perfluorocarbon tracer technology. This technology has been used periodically since the 1980s to trace plumes from stationary sources, but the results have been ambiguous for apportioning the contribution of sulfate from sulfur dioxide oxidation to reductions in regional visibility. The committee is not persuaded that new developments will improve
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Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's Research Plan for Fine Particulates the technology. The committee found it difficult to evaluate this component of the DOE program. Finding 2. The committee was not provided with the details of DOE's contribution to the BRAVO project, specifically the involvement of Brookhaven National Laboratory in apportioning regional haze using perfluorocarbon tracer technology. As a result, the committee found it difficult to evaluate DOE's contribution to this project or to separate the roles of Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of California-Davis. Finding 3. The apparent reluctance of the Mexican government to participate in the tracer experiments could compromise the BRAVO project's ability to estimate the contributions of various power plants to haze in the Big Bend National Park. Recommendations Recommendation 1. DOE should carefully review the results of this project to determine if the Big Bend Regional Aerosol and Visibility Observational (BRAVO) Project is more successful than previous projects for tracing plumes and assessing visibility. This review should be conducted as soon as practical to determine if further development of perfluorocarbon tracer technology will contribute to DOE meeting its fine particulate research program goals. DOE should then determine whether it should continue to pursue this technology or reallocate these funds to other parts of its fine particulate research program. Recommendation 2. DOE should join with other participants in the Big Bend Regional Aerosol and Visibility Observational (BRAVO) Project and other government agencies to explore opportunities for further cooperation with the Mexican government. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ON EMISSIONS-CONTROL TECHNOLOGY One of the objectives of the DOE-FE research program is to develop and evaluate cost-effective technologies for controlling both primary particulate matter and secondary fine particulate precursors in the event that further reductions in emissions from coal-fired power plants become necessary. Findings Finding 1. All four projects on the development of control technologies in the fine particulate research program were initiated several years ago, are coming to a close, and will not provide a foundation for DOE-FE's future activities. Consequently, in agreement with the sponsor, the committee did not evaluate them. Finding 2. DOE recently issued a program solicitation for the development of emission-control technology for primary PM2.5. The solicitation calls for the allocation of modest funds (about $1.5 million in fiscal year 1999) to support seven to twelve projects. The committee questions the wisdom of DOE making even modest investments in new, unproven technologies for controlling primary PM2.5 emissions before the performance of current technologies has been assessed and before a need has been established for reductions in emissions of primary PM2.5 from coal-fired power-plants beyond the reductions currently projected to meet air quality standards. At this time, DOE would be wiser to focus on clarifying source-receptor relationships and the elements of particle formation from NOx and organic materials. Recommendation Recommendation 1. The committee recognizes that limited funding may be necessary for the development of technology options for coal-fired boilers in the event that current methods prove to be inadequate. New technology options should be designed for the simultaneous, efficient control of multiple pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, and hazardous air pollutants. The development of these technologies is unlikely, however, with the modest funds currently available. If no additional funds can be obtained, the committee recommends that the resources devoted to this effort be reallocated to other areas of the DOE-FE fine particulate research program.
Representative terms from entire chapter: