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Air, Volume 1, Issue 3 (September 2023) – 5 articles

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15 pages, 1655 KiB  
Article
Ammonia Cycling and Emerging Inorganic Secondary Aerosols from Arable Agriculture
by Vivien Pohl, Alan Gilmer, Vivienne Byers, John Cassidy, Aoife Donnelly, Stig Hellebust, Eoin J. McGillicuddy, Eugene McGovern and David J. O’Connor
Air 2023, 1(3), 207-221; https://doi.org/10.3390/air1030016 - 19 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1336
Abstract
Air quality monitoring in Ireland is under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency in compliance with the Gothenburg Protocol, EU/national legislation, and the National Clean Air Strategy. Secondary inorganic aerosols (SIAS) have been acknowledged as a key atmospheric pollutant, with serious public [...] Read more.
Air quality monitoring in Ireland is under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency in compliance with the Gothenburg Protocol, EU/national legislation, and the National Clean Air Strategy. Secondary inorganic aerosols (SIAS) have been acknowledged as a key atmospheric pollutant, with serious public health impacts and no safe exposure threshold in place to date. Ammonia (NH3) emissions are linked to the secondary production of aerosols through atmospheric reactions occurring with acidic atmospheric components such as sulfuric, nitric, and hydrochloric acid. These reactions result in the formation of ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate and ammonium chloride, among others. Approximately 98% of NH3 emissions occurring in Ireland arise from agriculture, with minor contributions from transport and natural sources. A better understanding of NH3 emissions and SIA formation can be achieved through monitoring emissions at the source level. Additionally, mitigation strategies with a more thorough understanding of NH3 dynamics at the source level and consequential SIA formation allow for more efficient action. This project monitored ambient NH3 and SIA on two selected arable agricultural sites and a control site in a rural site close to Dublin on the east coast of Ireland to establish emission levels. Meteorological factors affecting emissions and SIA formation were also measured and cross-correlated to determine micro-meteorological effects. Monitoring at the agricultural sites observed ambient NH3 concentrations ranging from 0.52 µg m−3 to 1.70 µg m−3, with an average of 1.45 µg m−3. At the control site, ambient NH3 measured concentrations ranged from 0.05 µg m−3 to 1.76 µg m−3 with an average of 0.516 µg m−3. Aerosol NH4+ ranged from 0.03 µg m−3 to 1.05 µg m−3 with an average concentration of 0.27 µg m−3 at the agricultural site. The potential effects of meteorological conditions and the implications for the effects of these emissions are discussed, with recommendations to aid compliance with the National Emissions Ceiling and the National Clean Air Strategy (Directive 2001/81/EC). Full article
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11 pages, 1320 KiB  
Article
Using Low-Cost Sensing Technology to Assess Ambient and Indoor Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations in New York during the COVID-19 Lockdown
by Justin Holder, Jamelia Jordan, Kera Johnson, Ayodele Akinremi and Dawn Roberts-Semple
Air 2023, 1(3), 196-206; https://doi.org/10.3390/air1030015 - 16 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1469
Abstract
Air pollution is a leading cause of death in the United States and is associated with adverse health outcomes, including increased vulnerability to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The AirBeam2 was used to measure particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 μm or smaller [...] Read more.
Air pollution is a leading cause of death in the United States and is associated with adverse health outcomes, including increased vulnerability to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The AirBeam2 was used to measure particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 μm or smaller (PM2.5) to investigate differences between indoor and ambient levels at seven private homes in New York during and after the COVID-19 lockdown. Measurements taken in 2020 fall, 2021 winter, and 2022 fall showed that at 90% of the sites, indoor PM2.5 levels exceeded outdoor levels both during and after the COVID-19 lockdown, p = 0.03, possibly exceeding safety levels. Higher indoor PM2.5 levels attributed to little or no ventilation in the basement and kitchens from cooking and smoke were greater in fall than in winter. Higher ambient PM2.5 levels were attributed to vehicular traffic at a street-facing sampling site. PM2.5 sources identified in this study may help in devising control strategies to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and consequently alleviate respiratory health effects. These findings may be used as a basis for in-house modifications, including natural ventilation and the use of air purifiers to reduce exposures, mitigate future risks, and prevent potential harm to vulnerable residents. Full article
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12 pages, 5215 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study of the TVOC Distribution in a Car Cabin
by Nadir Hafs, Mokhtar Djeddou, Ahmed Benabed, Georges Fokoua and Amine Mehel
Air 2023, 1(3), 184-195; https://doi.org/10.3390/air1030014 - 9 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1709
Abstract
The vehicle in-cabin is subject to several types of pollutants infiltrating from the outdoors or emitted directly inside it, such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The concentration of TVOC (total volatile organic compounds) is the result of the emission from different equipment surfaces [...] Read more.
The vehicle in-cabin is subject to several types of pollutants infiltrating from the outdoors or emitted directly inside it, such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The concentration of TVOC (total volatile organic compounds) is the result of the emission from different equipment surfaces that compose the car cabin. In the present study, the experimental characterization of TVOC emission from the interior surfaces of a car cabin is discussed by considering the influence of two parameters: the temperature and ventilation modes. A measurement location grid was used to measure TVOC’s emissions from 267 points on all surfaces of the car’s interior equipment. Three different temperatures and two ventilation modes (recirculation and outdoor air) were investigated. The results indicate that the concentration of TVOC increases with the temperature inside the cabin with a contribution that varies with the type of cabin equipment including the dashboard, center console, seats, and carpets. On the other hand, the concentration distributions of TVOC showed relative differences of 10–13% and 2–5% for surface and volumetric measurements, respectively. This implies no preferential positioning of the in-cabin probe for TVOC volumetric concentration measurements. In addition, the recirculation ventilation mode results in a higher accumulation of TVOC; therefore, higher concentrations are measured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality: Risk Assessment and Public Health)
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9 pages, 851 KiB  
Communication
A Comparison of Ambient Air Ethylene Oxide Modeling Estimates from Facility Stack and Fugitive Emissions to Canister-Based Ambient Air Measurements in Salt Lake City
by Skyler Spooner, Rod Handy, Nancy Daher, Rachel Edie, Trent Henry and Darrah Sleeth
Air 2023, 1(3), 175-183; https://doi.org/10.3390/air1030013 - 6 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1641
Abstract
Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a colorless, flammable gas at room temperature produced by the catalytic oxidation of ethylene. EtO is widely used by medical sterilization facilities to clean medical supplies and equipment. Recent epidemiological studies showed that EtO is a more potent carcinogen [...] Read more.
Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a colorless, flammable gas at room temperature produced by the catalytic oxidation of ethylene. EtO is widely used by medical sterilization facilities to clean medical supplies and equipment. Recent epidemiological studies showed that EtO is a more potent carcinogen than previously documented, leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update, in December 2016, the inhalation unit risk estimate for EtO. This resulted in the identification of EtO as a potential health concern in several areas across the US, including the state of Utah. The geography surrounding Salt Lake Valley creates a bowl, which is ideal for collecting air pollution emissions. The region often experiences inversion episodes which inhibit vertical mixing and cause an accumulation of air pollutants, leading to unhealthy pollution levels. Using the EPA’s dispersion modeling software, AERMOD, this study estimated EtO concentrations through facility stack and fugitive emissions modeling results. These values were compared with those of canister-based concentrations from ambient air samples taken near a medical device sterilization facility in Salt Lake Valley. Stainless steel whole-air passivated canisters were used to collect 24 h ambient concentration samples of EtO. Eight locations surrounding a Salt Lake Valley medical device sterilization facility and four background sites were chosen to measure the ambient concentrations. Accounting for potential atmospheric impacts on EtO, measurements were sampled in winter 2022 (January–March) and summer 2022 (July–September). The modeled EtO concentrations were adjusted to account for background values associated with the winter or summer data. Then, the two methodologies were compared using a Wilcoxon signed-ranked paired test. The statistical analysis resulted in six of the eight sample locations surrounding the sterilization facility being significantly different when comparing the canister-based measurements of ambient EtO to modeled estimates. Canister-based measurements taken at sites one, three, and four were statistically greater than the modeled estimates, while sites two, five, and seven were statistically less than the modeled estimates. Also, the summer background value calculated was almost 2.5 times greater than the winter one. The results do not suggest whether one method is more or less conservative than the other. In conclusion, the five of the closest sites and site seven were statistically different when comparing measured and modeled ambient concentrations of EtO. The comparison results do not clearly indicate if a correction factor could be derived for future human exposure to cancer risk assessment modeling. However, it is reasonable that the closer to the sterilization facility, the more total EtO exposure will be realized. Full article
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16 pages, 2746 KiB  
Article
Reduction of Typical Diesel NOx Emissions by SCR-NH3 Using Metal-Exchanged Natural Zeolite and SBA-15 Catalysts
by Amanda Pontes Maia Pires Alcantara, Mona Lisa Moura de Oliveira, Jesuína Cássia Santiago de Araújo, Rinaldo dos Santos Araújo, Rita Karolinny Chaves de Lima, André Valente Bueno, Maria Eugênia Vieira da Silva, Paulo Alexandre Costa Rocha and Enrique Rodríguez-Castellón
Air 2023, 1(3), 159-174; https://doi.org/10.3390/air1030012 - 30 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1418
Abstract
In this work, the catalytic performance of clinoptilolite (CLIN) and SBA-15 catalysts, doped with Fe and Cu, was evaluated in the selective catalytic reduction of NO using NH3 as a reducing agent (SCR-NH3). Both Cu-CLIN and Fe-CLIN were obtained by [...] Read more.
In this work, the catalytic performance of clinoptilolite (CLIN) and SBA-15 catalysts, doped with Fe and Cu, was evaluated in the selective catalytic reduction of NO using NH3 as a reducing agent (SCR-NH3). Both Cu-CLIN and Fe-CLIN were obtained by ion-exchange using natural clinoptilolite zeolite originating from the Hrabovec deposit (northeast Slovakia region). Cu-SBA-15 and Fe-SBA-15 were prepared by impregnation into SBA-15 mesoporous synthesized silica. Standard catalytic activity tests were carried out on a bench-scale laboratory apparatus using a reaction mixture of a standard test. GHSV of 48,000 h−1 was adopted based on the space velocity of a real NH3-SCR catalyst for diesel vehicles (100–550 °C). All Cu-doped samples showed better NO conversion values than Fe-doped samples. Clinoptilolite catalysts were more active than those based on SBA-15. Maximum NO conversions of about 96% were observed for Cu-CLIN and Fe-CLIN at 350–400 °C, respectively. Moreover, Fe-CLIN also showed higher stability in the presence of SO2 and water steam at 350 °C. These results demonstrate the potential of metal-doped natural clinoptilolite to be used as cost-effective catalysts applied to the abatement of NOx emissions generated in automotive combustion processes. Full article
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