Publications

2012
Xi Lu, Jackson Salovaara, and Michael B. McElroy. 2012. “Implications of the recent reductions in natural gas prices for emissions of CO2 from the US power sector.” Environmental Science & Technology, 46, 5, Pp. 3014–3021. Publisher's VersionAbstract
CO2 emissions from the US power sector decreased by 8.76% in 2009 relative to 2008 contributing to a decrease over this period of 6.59% in overall US emissions of greenhouse gases. An econometric model, tuned to data reported for regional generation of US electricity, is used to diagnose factors responsible for the 2009 decrease. More than half of the reduction is attributed to a shift from generation of power using coal to gas driven by a recent decrease in gas prices in response to the increase in production from shale. An important result of the model is that, when the cost differential for generation using gas rather than coal falls below 2–3 cents/kWh, less efficient coal fired plants are displaced by more efficient natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) generation alternatives. Costs for generation using NGCC decreased by close to 4 cents/kWh in 2009 relative to 2008 ensuring that generation of electricity using gas was competitive with coal in 2009 in contrast to the situation in 2008 when gas prices were much higher. A modest price on carbon could contribute to additional switching from coal to gas with further savings in CO2 emissions.

Final Manuscript in DASH
This paper is from a series investigating and comparing the prospects for low- and non-carbon power generation in China and the U.S.; click here (http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/02/model-situation/) to see coverage in the Harvard Gazette.

Jing Cao, Mun S Ho, and Dale W Jorgenson. 2012. “An integrated assessment of the economic costs and environmental benefits of pollution and climate control.” In The Chinese Economy: A New Transition, edited by Masahiko Aoki. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Publisher's Version
2011
Rui Wang. 2011. “Autos, transit and bicycles: Comparing the costs in large Chinese cities.” Transport Policy, 18, 1, Pp. 139-146. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This study compares the full costs of seven passenger modes in the large Chinese cities facing the difficult yet crucial choice among alternative passenger transportation systems. The seven modes are evaluated at varied traffic volumes in hypothetical radial and circumferential commuting corridors. Using detailed estimates of private and social costs, the full cost of each mode is minimized by optimizing infrastructure investment and operation plans. On all corridors and across different scenarios, commuting by one or more forms of bus transit or bicycle costs less than automobile or rail. Nonetheless, in circumferential corridors, rail can be almost as cost-effective as bus under certain conditions, and bicycle can be less cost-effective than bus in some cases. Unlike results from similar studies conducted in the US, automobile commuting does not cost less than bus transportation at low traffic volumes.
Yuxuan Wang, Xuan Wang, Yutaka Kondo, Mizuo Kajino, J. William Munger, and Jiming Hao. 2011. “Black carbon and its correlation with trace gases at a rural site in Beijing: implications for regional emissions.” Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, D24. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The mass concentrations of black carbon (BC) were measured continuously at Miyun, a rural site near Beijing, concurrently with some trace gases (CO, CO2, NOy, SO2) during the nonheating seasons of 2010 (April to October). The average concentration of BC was 2.26 ± 2.33 μg m−3. About 70%–100% of the air masses arriving at the site from June to September were from the source region of Beijing and the North China Plain (NCP), while in the spring, 40% were of continental background origin. BC had moderate to strong positive correlations with CO (R2 = 0.51), NOy (R2 = 0.58), and CO2 (nonsummer, R2 = 0.54), but not with SO2 (R2 < 0.1). The observed ΔBC/ΔCO ratio was 0.0050 ± 0.0001 μg m−3/ppbv for the regional air masses (excluding the influence of biomass burning). This ratio increased by 68% to 0.0084 ± 0.0004 μg m−3/ppbv after excluding the influence of wet deposition. Accounting further for the impact of atmospheric processes on the observation, we derived an average top‐down BC/CO emission ratio of 0.0095 ± 0.002 μg m−3/ppbv for the source region of Beijing and NCP that is 18%–21% lower than the average emission ratio from the bottom‐up inventory of Zhang et al. (2009), whereas the difference is substantially lower than the uncertainty of emissions for either species. The difference between the mean bottom‐up and top‐down emission ratios is most likely to be attributed to the residential sector, which needs to have a lower share in the total emissions of BC or a much lower BC/CO emission ratio. The industry and transportation sectors are found to be dominant sources of BC from Beijing and the NCP rather than from the residential sector as suggested by the bottom‐up inventory.
Xi Lu, Michael B. McElroy, and Nora Sluzas. 2011. “Costs for integrating wind into the future ERCOT system with related costs for savings in CO2 emissions.” Environmental Science and Technology, 45, 7, Pp. 3160-3166. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Wind power can make an important contribution to the goal of reducing emissions of CO2. The major problem relates to the intrinsic variability of the source and the difficulty of reconciling the supply of electricity with demand particularly at high levels of wind penetration. This challenge is explored for the case of the ERCOT system in Texas. Demand for electricity in Texas is projected to increase by approximately 60% by 2030. Considering hourly load data reported for 2006, assuming that the pattern of demand in 2030 should be similar to 2006, and adopting as a business as usual (BAU) reference an assumption that the anticipated additional electricity should be supplied by a combination of coal and gas with prices, discounted to 2007 dollars of $2 and $6 per MMBTU respectively, we conclude that the bus-bar price for electricity would increase by about 1.1¢/kWh at a wind penetration level of 30%, by about 3.4 ¢/kWh at a penetration level of 80%. Corresponding costs for reductions in CO2 range from $20/ton to $60/ton. A number of possibilities are discussed that could contribute to a reduction in these costs including the impact of an expanded future fleet of electrically driven vehicles.

Final Manuscript in DASH
This is from a series of papers investigating and comparing the prospects for low- and non-carbon power generation in China and the U.S.

Jintai Lin and Michael B. McElroy. 2011. “Detection from space of a reduction in anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen oxides during the Chinese economic downturn.” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11, Pp. 8171-8188. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Rapid economic and industrial development in
China and relatively weak emission controls have resulted in
significant increases in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx)
in recent years, with the exception of late 2008 to mid 2009
when the economic downturn led to emission reductions detectable
from space. Here vertical column densities (VCDs)
of tropospheric NO2 retrieved from satellite observations by
SCIAMACHY, GOME-2 and OMI (both by KNMI and by
NASA) are used to evaluate changes in emissions of NOx
from October 2004 to February 2010 identifying impacts of
the economic downturn. Data over polluted regions of Northern
East China suggest an increase of 27–33% in 12-month
mean VCD of NO2 prior to the downturn, consistent with an
increase of 49% in thermal power generation (TPG) reflecting
the economic growth. More detailed analysis is used to
quantify changes in emissions of NOx in January over the
period 2005–2010 when the effect of the downturn was most
evident. The GEOS-Chem model is employed to evaluate
the effect of changes in chemistry and meteorology on VCD
of NO2. This analysis indicates that emissions decreased by
20% from January 2008 to January 2009, close to the reduction
of 18% in TPG that occurred over the same interval. A
combination of three independent approaches indicates that
the economic downturn was responsible for a reduction in
emissions by 9–11% in January 2009 with an additional decrease
of 10%attributed to the slow-down in industrial activity
associated with the coincident celebration of the Chinese
New Year; errors in the estimate are most likely less than
3.4 %.
Michael B. McElroy. 2011. Energy: Perspectives, Problems and Prospects (Chinese Language Edition). Beijing: Science Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The book offers a comprehensive account of how the world evolved to its present state in which humans now exercise a powerful, in many cases dominant, influence for global environmental change. It outlines the history that led to this position of dominance, in particular the role played by our increasing reliance on fossil sources of energy, on coal, oil and natural gas, and the problems that we are now forced to confront as a result of this history. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is greater now than at any time over at least the past 650,000 years with prospects to increase over the next few decades to levels not seen since dinosaurs roamed the Earth 65 million years ago. Comparable changes are evident also for methane and nitrous oxide and for a variety of other constituents of the atmosphere including species such as the ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons for which there are no natural analogues.

Increases in the concentrations of so-called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are responsible for important changes in global and regional climate with consequences for the future of global society which, though difficult to predict in detail, are potentially catastrophic for a world poorly equipped to cope. Changes of climate in the past were repetitively responsible for the demise of important civilizations. These changes, however, were generally natural in origin in contrast to the changes now underway for which humans are directly responsible. The challenge is to transition to a new energy economy in which fossil fuels will play a much smaller role. We need as a matter of urgency to cut back on emissions of climate altering gases such as carbon dioxide while at the same time reducing our dependence on unreliable, potentially disruptive, though currently indispensable, sources of energy such as oil, the lifeblood of the global transportation system. The book concludes with a discussion of options for a more sustainable energy future, highlighting the potential for contributions from wind, sun, biomass, geothermal and nuclear, supplanting currently unsustainable reliance on coal, oil and natural gas.
Xi Lu, Jeremy Tchou, Michael B. McElroy, and Chris P Nielsen. 2011. “The impact of production tax credits on the profitable production of electricity from wind in the U.S.” Energy Policy, 39, 7, Pp. 4207-4214. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A spatial financial model using wind data derived from assimilated meteorological condition was developed to investigate the profitability and competitiveness of onshore wind power in the contiguous U.S. It considers not only the resulting estimated capacity factors for hypothetical wind farms but also the geographically differentiated costs of local grid connection. The levelized cost of wind-generated electricity for the contiguous U.S. is evaluated assuming subsidy levels from the Production Tax Credit (PTC) varying from 0 to 4 ¢/kWh under three cost scenarios: a reference case, a high cost case, and a low cost case. The analysis indicates that in the reference scenario, current PTC subsidies of 2.1 ¢/kWh are at a critical level in determining the competitiveness of wind-generated electricity compared to conventional power generation in local power market. Results from this study suggest that the potential for profitable wind power with the current PTC subsidy amounts to more than seven times existing demand for electricity in the entire U.S. Understanding the challenges involved in scaling up wind energy requires further study of the external costs associated with improvement of the backbone transmission network and integration into the power grid of the variable electricity generated from wind.

Final Manuscript in DASH
This paper is from a series investigating and comparing the prospects for low- and non-carbon power generation in China and the U.S.

Yu Lei, Qiang Zhang, Chris P Nielsen, and Kebin He. 2011. “An inventory of primary air pollutants and CO2 emissions from cement production in China, 1990-2020.” Atmospheric Environment, 45, 1, Pp. 147-154. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Direct emissions of air pollutants from the cement industry in China were estimated by developing a technology-based methodology using information on the proportion of cement produced from different types of kilns and the emission standards for the Chinese cement industry. Historical emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM) and carbon dioxide (CO2) were estimated for the years 1990–2008, and future emissions were projected up to 2020 based on current energy-related and emission control policies. Compared with the historical high (4.36 Tg of PM2.5, 7.16 Tg of PM10 and 10.44 Tg of TSP in 1997), PM emissions are predicted to drop substantially by 2020, despite the expected tripling of cement production. Certain other air pollutant emissions, such as CO and SO2, are also predicted to decrease with the progressive closure of shaft kilns. NOX emissions, however, could increase because of the promotion of precalciner kilns and the rapid increase of cement production. CO2 emissions from the cement industry account for approximately one eighth of China’s national CO2 emissions. Our analysis indicates that it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions from this industry by approximately 12.8% if advanced energy-related technologies are implemented. These technologies will bring co-benefits in reducing other air pollutants as well.
Yu Zhao, Michael B. McElroy, Jia Xing, Lei Duan, Chris P Nielsen, Yu Lei, and Jiming Hao. 2011. “Multiple effects and uncertainties of emission control policies in China: Public health, soil acidification, and global temperature.” Science of the Total Environment , 409, 24, Pp. 5177-5187. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Policies to control emissions of criteria pollutants in China may have conflicting impacts on public health, soil acidification, and climate. Two scenarios for 2020, a base case without anticipated control measures and a more realistic case including such controls, are evaluated to quantify the effects of the policies on emissions and resulting environmental outcomes. Large benefits to public health can be expected from the controls, attributed mainly to reduced emissions of primary PM and gaseous PM precursors, and thus lower ambient concentrations of PM2.5. Approximately 4% of all-cause mortality in the country can be avoided (95% confidence interval: 1–7%), particularly in eastern and north-central China, regions with large population densities and high levels of PM2.5. Surface ozone levels, however, are estimated to increase in parts of those regions, despite NOX reductions. This implies VOC-limited conditions. Even with significant reduction of SO2 and NOX emissions, the controls will not significantly mitigate risks of soil acidification, judged by the exceedance levels of critical load (CL). This is due to the decrease in primary PM emissions, with the consequent reduction in deposition of alkaline base cations. Compared to 2005, even larger CL exceedances are found for both scenarios in 2020, implying that PM control may negate any recovery from soil acidification due to SO2 reductions. Noting large uncertainties, current polices to control emissions of criteria pollutants in China will not reduce climate warming, since controlling SO2 emissions also reduces reflective secondary aerosols. Black carbon emission is an important source of uncertainty concerning the effects of Chinese control policies on global temperature change. Given these conflicts, greater consideration should be paid to reconciling varied environmental objectives, and emission control strategies should target not only criteria pollutants but also species such as VOCs and CO2.
Yu Lei, Qiang Zhang, Kebin He, and David G Streets. 2011. “Primary anthropogenic aerosol emission trends for China, 1990-2005.” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11, Pp. 931-954. Publisher's VersionAbstract
An inventory of anthropogenic primary aerosol
emissions in China was developed for 1990–2005 using a
technology-based approach. Taking into account changes
in the technology penetration within industry sectors and
improvements in emission controls driven by stricter emission
standards, a dynamic methodology was derived and implemented
to estimate inter-annual emission factors. Emission
factors of PM2.5 decreased by 7%–69% from 1990 to
2005 in different industry sectors of China, and emission factors
of TSP decreased by 18%–80% as well, with the measures
of controlling PM emissions implemented. As a result,
emissions of PM2.5 and TSP in 2005 were 11.0 Tg and
29.7 Tg, respectively, less than what they would have been
without the adoption of these measures. Emissions of PM2.5,
PM10 and TSP presented similar trends: they increased in
the first six years of 1990s and decreased until 2000, then
increased again in the following years. Emissions of TSP
peaked (35.5 Tg) in 1996, while the peak of PM10 (18.8 Tg)
and PM2.5 (12.7 Tg) emissions occurred in 2005. Although
various emission trends were identified across sectors, the cement
industry and biofuel combustion in the residential sector
were consistently the largest sources of PM2.5 emissions,
accounting for 53%–62% of emissions over the study period.
The non-metallic mineral product industry, including the cement,
lime and brick industries, accounted for 54%–63% of
national TSP emissions. There were no significant trends of
BC and OC emissions until 2000, but the increase after 2000
brought the peaks of BC (1.51 Tg) and OC (3.19 Tg) emissions
in 2005. Although significant improvements in the estimation
of primary aerosols are presented here, there still
exist large uncertainties. More accurate and detailed activity
information and emission factors based on local tests are essential
to further improve emission estimates, this especially
being so for the brick and coke industries, as well as for coal.
Yu Zhao, Chris P Nielsen, Yu Lei, Michael B. McElroy, and Jiming Hao. 2011. “Quantifying the uncertainties of a bottom-up emission inventory of anthropogenic atmospheric pollutants in China.” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11, Pp. 2295-2308. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The uncertainties of a national, bottom-up inventory
of Chinese emissions of anthropogenic SO2, NOx, and
particulate matter (PM) of different size classes and carbonaceous
species are comprehensively quantified, for the first
time, using Monte Carlo simulation. The inventory is structured
by seven dominant sectors: coal-fired electric power,
cement, iron and steel, other industry (boiler combustion),
other industry (non-combustion processes), transportation,
and residential. For each parameter related to emission factors
or activity-level calculations, the uncertainties, represented
as probability distributions, are either statistically fitted
using results of domestic field tests or, when these are
lacking, estimated based on foreign or other domestic data.
The uncertainties (i.e., 95% confidence intervals around the
central estimates) of Chinese emissions of SO2, NOx, total
PM, PM10, PM2.5, black carbon (BC), and organic carbon
(OC) in 2005 are estimated to be −14%13%, −13%37%,
−11%38%, −14%45%, −17%54%, −25%136%,
and −40%121%, respectively. Variations at activity levels
(e.g., energy consumption or industrial production) are
not the main source of emission uncertainties. Due to narrow
classification of source types, large sample sizes, and
relatively high data quality, the coal-fired power sector is estimated
to have the smallest emission uncertainties for all
species except BC and OC. Due to poorer source classifications
and a wider range of estimated emission factors,
considerable uncertainties of NOx and PM emissions from
cement production and boiler combustion in other industries
are found. The probability distributions of emission
factors for biomass burning, the largest source of BC and
OC, are fitted based on very limited domestic field measurements,
and special caution should thus be taken interpreting
these emission uncertainties. Although Monte Carlo simulation
yields narrowed estimates of uncertainties compared
to previous bottom-up emission studies, the results are not
always consistent with those derived from satellite observations.
The results thus represent an incremental research
advance; while the analysis provides current estimates of
uncertainty to researchers investigating Chinese and global
atmospheric transport and chemistry, it also identifies specific
needs in data collection and analysis to improve on
them. Strengthened quantification of emissions of the included
species and other, closely associated ones – notably
CO2, generated largely by the same processes and thus subject
to many of the same parameter uncertainties – is essential
not only for science but for the design of policies to redress
critical atmospheric environmental hazards at local, regional,
and global scales.
Yu Zhao, Lei Duan, Yu Lei, Jia Xing, Chris P Nielsen, and Jiming Hao. 2011. “Will PM control undermine China's efforts to reduce soil acidification?” Environmental Pollution, 159, 10, Pp. 2726-2732. Publisher's VersionAbstract
China’s strategies to control acidifying pollutants and particulate matter (PM) may be in conflict for soil acidification abatement. Acidifying pollutant emissions are estimated for 2005 and 2020 with anticipated control policies. PM emissions including base cations (BCs) are evaluated with two scenarios, a base case applying existing policy to 2020, and a control case including anticipated tightened measures. Depositions of sulfur (S), nitrogen (N) and BCs are simulated and their acidification risks are evaluated with critical load (CL). In 2005, the area exceeding CL covered 15.6% of mainland China, with total exceedance of 2.2 Mt S. These values decrease in the base scenario 2020, implying partial recovery from acidification. Under more realistic PM control, the respective estimates are 17.9% and 2.4 Mt S, indicating increased acidification risks due to abatement of acid-neutralizing BCs. China’s anthropogenic PM abatement will have potentially stronger chemical implications for acidification than developed countries.
2010
Michael B. McElroy. 2010. “Challenge of global climate change: Prospects for a new energy paradigm.” Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering in China , 4, 1, Pp. 2-11. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Perspectives on the challenge posed by potential future climate change are presented including a discussion of prospects for carbon capture followed either by sequestration or reuse including opportunities for alternatives to the use of oil in the transportation sector. The potential for wind energy as an alternative to fossil fuel energy as a source of electricity is outlined including the related opportunities for cost effective curtailment of future growth in emissions of CO2.
Yuxuan Wang, J. William Munger, Shicheng Xu, Michael B. McElroy, Jiming Hao, Chris P Nielsen, and Hong Ma. 2010. “CO2 and its correlation with CO at a rural site near Beijing: Implications for combustion efficiency in China.” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10, Pp. 8881-8897. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Although China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter, in situ measurements of atmospheric CO2 have been sparse in China. This paper analyzes hourly CO2 and its correlation with CO at Miyun, a rural site near Beijing, over a period of 51 months (Dec 2004 through Feb 2009). The CO2-CO correlation analysis evaluated separately for each hour of the day provides useful information with statistical significance even in the growing season. We found that the intercept, representing the initial condition imposed by global distribution of CO2 with influence of photosynthesis and respiration, exhibits diurnal cycles differing by season. The background CO2 (CO2,b) derived from Miyun observations is comparable to CO2 observed at a Mongolian background station to the northwest. Annual growth of overall mean CO2 at Miyun is estimated at 2.7 ppm yr−1 while that of CO2,b is only 1.7 ppm yr−1 similar to the mean growth rate at northern mid-latitude background stations. This suggests a relatively faster increase in the regional CO2 sources in China than the global average, consistent with bottom-up studies of CO2 emissions. For air masses with trajectories through the northern China boundary layer, mean winter CO2/CO correlation slopes (dCO2/dCO) increased by 2.8±0.9 ppmv/ppmv or 11% from 2005–2006 to 2007–2008, with CO2 increasing by 1.8 ppmv. The increase in dCO2/dCO indicates improvement in overall combustion efficiency over northern China after winter 2007, attributed to pollution reduction measures associated with the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The observed CO2/CO ratio at Miyun is 25% higher than the bottom-up CO2/CO emission ratio, suggesting a contribution of respired CO2 from urban residents as well as agricultural soils and livestock in the observations and uncertainty in the emission estimates.
Jin-Tai Lin, Michael B. McElroy, and K. Folkert Boersma. 2010. “Constraint of anthropogenic NOx emissions in China from different sectors: A new methodology using separate satellite retrievals.” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10, 1, Pp. 63-78. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A new methodology is developed to constrain
Chinese anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx)
from four major sectors (industry, power plants, mobile and
residential) in July 2008. It combines tropospheric NO2 column
retrievals from GOME-2 and OMI, taking advantage
of their different passing time over China (10:00 a.m. LT
(local time) versus 02:00 p.m.) and consistent retrieval algorithms.
The approach is based on the difference of NOx
columns at the overpass times of the two instruments; it thus
is less susceptible to the likely systematic errors embedded
in individual retrievals that are consistent with each other.
Also, it explicitly accounts for diurnal variations and uncertainties
of NOx emissions for individual sources. Our best
top-down estimate suggests a national budget of 6.8 TgN/yr
(5.5 TgN/yr for East China), close to the a priori bottom-up
emission estimate from the INTEX-B mission for the year of
2006. The top-down emissions are lower than the a priori
near Beijing, in the northeastern provinces and along the east
coast; yet they exceed the a priori over many inland regions.
Systematic errors in satellite retrievals are estimated to lead
to underestimation of top-down emissions by at most 17%
(most likely 10%). Effects of other factors on the top-down
estimate are typically less than 15% each, including lightning,
soil emissions, mixing in planetary boundary layer, anthropogenic
emissions of carbon monoxide and volatile organic
compounds, magnitude of a priori emissions, assumptions
on emission diurnal variations, and uncertainties in the
four sectors. The a posteriori emission budget is 5.7 TgN/yr
for East China.
Xi Lu. 2010. “Electricity from Wind: Opportunities and Challenges.” School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University.
Michael B. McElroy. 2010. Energy: Perspectives, Problems and Prospects. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The book offers a comprehensive account of how the world evolved to its present state in which humans now exercise a powerful, in many cases dominant, influence for global environmental change. It outlines the history that led to this position of dominance, in particular the role played by our increasing reliance on fossil sources of energy, on coal, oil and natural gas, and the problems that we are now forced to confront as a result of this history. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is greater now than at any time over at least the past 650,000 years with prospects to increase over the next few decades to levels not seen since dinosaurs roamed the Earth 65 million years ago. Comparable changes are evident also for methane and nitrous oxide and for a variety of other constituents of the atmosphere including species such as the ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons for which there are no natural analogues.

Increases in the concentrations of so-called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are responsible for important changes in global and regional climate with consequences for the future of global society which, though difficult to predict in detail, are potentially catastrophic for a world poorly equipped to cope. Changes of climate in the past were repetitively responsible for the demise of important civilizations. These changes, however, were generally natural in origin in contrast to the changes now underway for which humans are directly responsible. The challenge is to transition to a new energy economy in which fossil fuels will play a much smaller role. We need as a matter of urgency to cut back on emissions of climate altering gases such as carbon dioxide while at the same time reducing our dependence on unreliable, potentially disruptive, though currently indispensable, sources of energy such as oil, the lifeblood of the global transportation system. The book concludes with a discussion of options for a more sustainable energy future, highlighting the potential for contributions from wind, sun, biomass, geothermal and nuclear, supplanting currently unsustainable reliance on coal, oil and natural gas.
Yu Zhao, Shuxiao Wang, Chris P Nielsen, Xinghua Li, and Jiming Hao. 2010. “Establishment of a database of emission factors for atmospheric pollutant emissions from Chinese coal-fired power plants.” Atmospheric Environment, 44, 12, Pp. 1515-1523. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Field measurements and data investigations were conducted for developing an emission factor database for inventories of atmospheric pollutants from Chinese coal-fired power plants. Gaseous pollutants and particulate matter (PM) of different size fractions were measured using a gas analyzer and an electric low-pressure impactor (ELPI), respectively, for ten units in eight coal-fired power plants across the country. Combining results of field tests and literature surveys, emission factors with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by boiler type, fuel quality, and emission control devices using bootstrap and Monte Carlo simulations. The emission factor of uncontrolled SO2 from pulverized combustion (PC) boilers burning bituminous or anthracite coal was estimated to be 18.0S kg t−1 (i.e., 18.0 × the percentage sulfur content of coal, S) with a 95% CI of 17.2S–18.5S. NOX emission factors for pulverized-coal boilers ranged from 4.0 to 11.2 kg t−1, with uncertainties of 14–45% for different unit types. The emission factors of uncontrolled PM2.5, PM10, and total PM emitted by PC boilers were estimated to be 0.4A (where A is the percentage ash content of coal), 1.5A and 6.9A kg t−1, respectively, with 95% CIs of 0.3A–0.5A, 1.1A–1.9A and 5.8A–7.9A. The analogous PM values for emissions with electrostatic precipitator (ESP) controls were 0.032A (95% CI: 0.021A–0.046A), 0.065A (0.039A–0.092A) and 0.094A (0.0656A–0.132A) kg t−1, and 0.0147A (0.0092–0.0225A), 0.0210A (0.0129A–0.0317A), and 0.0231A (0.0142A–0.0348A) for those with both ESP and wet flue-gas desulfurization (wet-FGD). SO2 and NOX emission factors for Chinese power plants were smaller than those of U.S. EPA AP-42 database, due mainly to lower heating values of coals in China. PM emission factors for units with ESP, however, were generally larger than AP-42 values, because of poorer removal efficiencies of Chinese dust collectors. For units with advanced emission control technologies, more field measurements are needed to reduce emission factor uncertainties.
Jin-Tai Lin and Michael B. McElroy. 2010. “Impacts of boundary layer mixing on pollutant vertical profiles in the lower troposphere: Implications to satellite remote sensing.” Atmospheric Environment, 44, 14, Pp. 1726-1739. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Mixing in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) affects vertical distributions of air tracers in the lower troposphere. An accurate representation of PBL mixing is critical for chemical-transport models (CTMs) for applications sensitive to simulations of the vertical profiles of tracers. The full mixing assumption in the widely used global CTM GEOS-Chem has recently been supplemented with a non-local PBL scheme. This study analyzes the impact of the non-local scheme on model representation of PBL mixing, consequences for simulations of vertical profiles of air tracers and surface air pollution, and implications for model applications to the interpretation of data retrieved from satellite remote sensing. The non-local scheme significantly improves simulations of the vertical distributions for NO2 and O3, as evaluated using aircraft measurements in summer 2004. It also reduces model biases over the U.S. by more than 10 ppb for surface ozone concentrations at night and by 2–5 ppb for peak ozone in the afternoon, as evaluated using ground observations. The application to inverse modeling of anthropogenic NOx emissions for East China using satellite retrievals of NO2 from OMI and GOME-2 suggests that the full mixing assumption results in 3–14% differences in top–down emission budgets as compared to the non-local scheme. The top–down estimate combining the non-local scheme and the Lin et al. inverse modeling approach suggests a magnitude of 6.6 TgN yr−1 for emissions of NOx over East China in July 2008 and 8.0 TgN yr−1 for January 2009, with the magnitude and seasonality in good agreement with bottom–up estimates.

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