Event Scheduled for Apr 5, 2013
Event: Environmental Engineering Colloquium - "Air quality impacts associated with potential RFS2 mandates"
Location: FLC, Room 212
Time: 12:00 pm
Details of Event:
"Air quality impacts associated with potential RFS2 mandates" presented by Dr. Kristina Wagstrom, Assistant Professor in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Connecticut.
Abstract: Bioethanol is often proposed as a solution to high carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline powered cars but along with controversy over whether they actually result in lower carbon dioxide emissions, there is also concern over the potential additional environmental impacts that might accompany making a switch to biofuels to meet future energy needs. One such concern is the potential impact that the production and use of bioethanol will have on air quality, especially particulate matter and ozone concentrations. Since many of the emissions associated with both bioethanol and gasoline occur during both the production and use of these fuels, we use a modeling system comprised of a life cycle model, a spatial and temporal emissions allocation model and a regional air quality model to provide a more comprehensive view of the potential impacts.
We considered three potential bioethanol increases associated with moving from the Renewable Fuel Standard – Phase 1 (RFS1) to Phase 2 (RFS2). These include a 5 billion gallon increase in cellulosic (corn stover-derived) ethanol, a 7.5 billion gallon increase in corn-derived ethanol, and a combination of the two – 5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol and 7.5 billion of corn ethanol. We then compare the potential changes in air quality associated with each of these scenarios in comparison with the changes associated with meeting the same increase in energy demand using gasoline.
Overall, we found an increase in particulate matter associated with bioethanol options over using gasoline to meet the same energy need. Annual average ozone concentrations decreased while ozone concentrations during the ozone season (May – September) showed considerable increases. The changes in pollutant concentrations were more spatially variable for the bioethanol options compared to gasoline. We also compared the impact of a wide range of aerosol components and found that many different components contributed to increases in both bioethanol and gasoline cases but the largest increases in bioethanol cases were from ammonium and nitrate components. These increases resulted from the emission of ammonia from increased fertilizer use.
Sponsored By: Environmental Engineering Program
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