Category: Science for Solutions Current & Ongoing Studies

Current & Recently Completed Studies

Emissions Reactive Organics

Emissions of Reactive Organics from Natural Gas-Fueled Engines

Utah State University scientists will improve estimates of the magnitude and composition of emissions from natural gas-fueled artificial lift engines in the Uinta Basin. Recent ambient air measurements have implicated natural gas-fueled engines as a large source of reactive organics, including formaldehyde, ethylene, propylene, and other compounds. The results from this project will allow Utah DAQ to better understand and model this source of ozone-forming pollution in the Uinta Basin and develop science-based, effective emissions reduction strategies for wintertime ozone.

  • Principal Investigators: Seth Lyman (USU), Huy Tran (USU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $117,300
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Vertical Ozone Profiles in the Uinta Basin and Validating Drones as an Air Measurement Platform

The University of Utah will conduct vertical ozone profile measurements from ground level to the mid-stratosphere to develop a better understanding of ozone layers and evolution over Utah. Data collected by drones and balloons will provide information on the vertical distribution of ozone and nitrous dioxide (NO2) among other gases. This data will be used by UDAQ to inform policy and decision makers.

  • Tony Saad (UU), John Sohl (Weber State University)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $92,463
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Quantitative Attribution of Wildfires Map Image

Quantitative Attribution of Wildfires on Summertime Ozone Concentrations along the Wasatch Front

Wildfires can significantly enhance summertime ozone and aerosol concentrations, which can degrade air quality and have adverse effects on human health. While air quality has improved across much of the U.S., the Western U.S. has seen a recent increase in wildfire activity. This project will assess the contribution of regional fires and long-range smoke transport to poor air quality in the Salt Lake Valley. This study will also improve our understanding of how wildfires interact with urban plumes, improve air quality modeling capabilities, and guide the implementation of effective regulatory policies.

  • Adam Kochanski (San Jose State University), Derek Mallia (UU), Kerry Kelly (UU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $79,768
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Halogen Sources Map Image

Halogen Sources and their Influence on Winter Air Pollution in the Great Salt Lake Basin

The Great Salt Lake Basin is meteorologically and chemically distinct from other regions in the U.S. It is subject to both persistent cold air pools in complex terrain that lead to winter air pollution and potentially large inputs of natural and anthropogenic sources of halogen species. This project will investigate the role of these halogen sources in regulating the severity of winter fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Results from this study will improve estimates of halogen emissions and enhance Utah DAQ’s understanding of winter PM2.5 chemistry.

  • Steve Brown (NOAA), Caroline Womack (NOAA)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $83,426
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Heavy Duty Vehicles

Winter Measurements of Heavy-duty Vehicles to Characterize the Cold Temperature Effectiveness of Selective Catalytic Reductions Catalyst in Controlling Oxide of Nitrogen Emissions

The Salt Lake City region in Utah experiences periods of high particulate levels in the winter months due to the combination of its topography, winter atmospheric inversions and local emissions. Secondary nitrate particles comprise the dominant fraction of the particles in these episodes and are the result of the reaction of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) with ammonia. A significant fraction of NOx emissions in the Salt Lake City area are produced by heavy-duty vehicles operating in or traveling through the area on the interstate highway system. This study will measure wintertime NOx emissions from local heavy-duty vehicle activity in order to improve Utah DAQ emissions inventory estimates and better inform policy.

  • Gary Bishop (University of Denver)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $52,000
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Improving Volatile Organic Compound Emission Estimates for the Uintah Basin

This study builds on last year’s effort to improve the speciation of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from oil and gas wells in the Uintah Basin. Better speciation profiles will yield a better emission inventory for the basin and will help focus emission reduction strategies.

  • Principal Investigators: Trang Tran, Huy Tran (USU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $140,000
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PM2.5 Graph

Characterizing Air Quality Impacts from Exceptional Events along the Wasatch Front

This study, led by researchers at BYU, will use particulate matter (PM) sampling to identify regional dust sources that impact local air quality and public health, as well as model how dust sources might change in the future.

  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Greg Carling (BYU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $150,000
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Model Map Graphic

Improving WRF/CMAQ Model Performance using Satellite Data Assimilation Technique for the Uintah Basin

This study will test if satellite observations of vegetation and land use can be used to improve photochemical model performance in the Uintah basin. An improved model will help inform emission reduction strategies and regulatory action.

  • Principal Investigators: Huy Tran, Trang Tran (USU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $38,392
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Red Butte Canyon Graph

The Red Butte Canyon Air Mass Exchange and Pollution Transport Study

The University of Utah will make measurements of vertical wind and aerosol profiles, as well as ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon in order to better understand air exchange in the Salt Lake Valley during wintertime PM2.5 events.

  • Principal Investigators: Sebastian W. Hoch, Erik T. Crosman (UU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $34,965
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The Red Butte Canyon Ozone Network:
Leveraging Existing Infrastructure to Probe Background Concentrations, Canyon Flows, and Stratospheric Oxidant Exchange

This study will deploy a number of ozone sensors at different distances up Red Butte Canyon to better understand natural gradients in ozone and how phenomena like large thunderstorms and valley drainage flows contribute to ozone concentrations in the Salt Lake Valley.

  • Principal Investigators: Logan Mitchell, Ryan Bares, David Eiriksson (UU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $39,833
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Jordan Narrows Map

Jordan Narrows Gap Ammonia Transport Study

This study will provide key meteorological support for the chemistry observations taken during the upcoming 2018-­-2019 winter season that are focused on the ammonia transport and air mass exchange between the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys.

  • Principal Investigators: Sebastian W. Hoch, Erik Crosman (UU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $19,510
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Wasatch Front Map

Wasatch Front Ammonia and Chloride Observations (WaFACO)

The objective of this study is to define the spatio-temporal behavior of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) and hydrochloric acid (HCl) along the Wasatch Front across both summer and winter seasons. This objective will be accomplished through three tasks developed in consultation with UDAQ and the U.S. EPA. These tasks include 1) networked NH3 and HCl observations, 2) particulate chloride spatial distributions, and 3) mobile real-time NH3 assessments.

  • Principal Investigators: Randal S. Martin (USU), Kerry Kelly (UU), Jaron Hansen (BYU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $210,000
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Wood Burning Stove Photo by Donna Kemp Spangler

Aethalometer Study for Estimating Compliance
with Wood-burning Ban

The University of Utah Department of Chemical Engineering will collaborate with UDAQ to estimate the contributions of wood burning to wintertime PM2.5 levels using aethalometer data from four locations and from mobile aethalometer measurements. The goal of this study is to identify and understand levels of wood burning and compliance with wood-burning restrictions during the winter of 2018/2019.

  • Principal Investigator: Kerry Kelly (UU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $30,000
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VOC Emissions

Composition of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions From Oil and Gas Wells in the Uinta Basin

The Utah Division of Air Quality (UDAQ) is leading a new effort to improve estimates of the speciation of organic compound emissions from Uinta Basin oil and gas wells. Utah State University (USU) will work with UDAQ to collect and analyze pressurized gas and liquid samples from oil and gas well separators, as well as conduct data processing and analysis.

  • Principal Investigators: Seth Lyman, Trang Tran (USU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $30,358
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Air Monitor

Bountiful City Dichloromethane and Formaldehyde Source Apportionment Study

A source apportionment campaign, with an emphasis on determining the source of dichloromethane in Bountiful City, will be conducted between December 2018 and January 2019. Supporting measurements of PM2.5 concentration and composition will be provided as part of this effort.

  • Principal Investigators: Kerry Kelly (UU), Jaron Hansen (BYU)
  • Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $80,067
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Car Exhaust Photo from Unsplash Matt Boitor

Ammonia Emission Assessment from Diesel and Gasoline Engines under Utah Specific Conditions

To better understand the contribution of automobiles to Utah ammonia emissions, tailpipe ammonia (NH3) measurements will be taken in laboratory and on-road settings for an array of diesel and gasoline vehicles representative of Utah’s vehicle fleet.

  • Principal Investigators: Randal S. Martin (USU), Joe Thomas (UDAQ), John Sohl (WSU)
  • Funded for: $59,958
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