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New Developments at the UVM Transportation Air Quality Lab
- By Karen Sentoff
Barrett/Liston Scholar Anna Nadler Joins the MOVES Minds at the
Transportation Air Quality Laboratory for Summer and Fall 2013
Anna Nadler was awarded a Barrett/Liston Scholarship through the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences to conduct undergraduate research under the direction of Dr. Britt Holmén for the summer of 2013. Anna, originally from Rutland, Vermont, will be a senior civil engineering student at UVM in fall 2013. She joined a team of researchers, the “MOVES Minds”, who use the Environmental Protection Agency’s Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) model to estimate tailpipe emissions and compare them to measured values collected by Transportation Air Quality (TAQ) Laboratory graduate students.
MOVES model results are used widely by other researchers, municipalities, engineers, and policymakers to assess the implications of improved technologies, infrastructure changes, and policy implementations on tailpipe emissions and energy consumption of the current and projected motor vehicle fleet. Inputs to MOVES include fuel composition and meteorology, as well as real-world second-by-second speed and road grade.
MOVES emission rates for tailpipe criteria pollutants (carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen), greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide), and air toxics (benzene, formaldehyde, etc.) will be compared to the real-world data collected as part of the Transportation Research Center Signature Project 2 onboard tailpipe emissions study. The research aims to validate and improve model estimates, particularly for real-world operation and hybrid-electric gasoline vehicles.
Anna was awarded the opportunity to continue this research through the 2013/2014 academic year with an Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) through the Transportation Research Center.
Biodiesel Emissions Testing at the Transportation Air Quality Laboratory
With concerns of climate change, energy security and independence, and air quality, there is increasing interest in alternatives to petroleum-based fuels, like biodiesel, to power the on- and off-road vehicle fleets. Although many alternative fuels are well characterized based on their physical and chemical properties, the emissions resulting from operating vehicles with these alternative fuel sources is largely unknown.
Testing in the Transportation Air Quality (TAQ) Laboratory is underway to compare the emissions from different blends and feedstocks of biodiesel. Tyler Feralio, a Transportation Research Center Scholar and the 2012 University Transportation Center’s Student of the Year, heads the data collection campaign with Jim Dunshee, M.S. candidate, under the direction of Dr. Britt Holmén. This research will compare particle and gas-phase emissions from waste grease and soybean biodiesel blends of B10, B20, B50, and B100 to ultra-low sulfur on-road petrodiesel fuel (B0). alternatives to petroleum-based fuels, like biodiesel, to power the on- and off-road vehicle fleets. Although many alternative fuels are well characterized based on their physical and chemical properties, the emissions resulting from operating vehicles with these alternative fuel sources is largely unknown.
The TAQ Lab’s Volkswagen four-cylinder light-duty diesel engine dynamometer is used to run a real-world transient drive cycle for each emissions test. In addition to quantifying the second-by-second gas and particle emissions in real-time, John Kasumba, PhD candidate in the School of Engineering, evaluates the organic chemical composition of the emitted particles with recent Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate Phil Cannata. Particles collected on filters are analyzed for pollutants of interest including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), fatty-acid methyl esters (FAMEs), polar organic compounds, alkanes, and carbonyls. Subsequent experiments will compare the reactivity of biodiesel versus petrodiesel particles to gas-phase ozone. These data will help us understand the secondary atmospheric effects (e.g. smog) of vehicle exhaust.