Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Emissions: Monitoring and Assessment

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Atmospheric Techniques, Instruments, and Modeling".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (7 July 2023) | Viewed by 12148

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
Interests: analytical atmospheric chemistry; mass spectrometry; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); laboratory and field experiments; air quality
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDÆA-CSIC), Carrer Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: biosphere–atmosphere interactions; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); mass spectrometry; eddy covariance flux measurements; atmospheric chemistry
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this Special Issue is to gather papers focusing on recent advancements in the field of volatile organic compound (VOC) measurements, modeling, and their impact on air quality, climate, and atmospheric chemistry. VOCs play an important role in tropospheric ozone (O3) and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation. Tropospheric O3 can be harmful as it has an impact on air quality due to its ability to form photochemical smog and has a direct health impact as a pulmonary irritant. In addition to this, O3 enters leaves through plant stomata during normal gas exchange in the daylight hours and impairs plant metabolism and damages crops. On the other hand, SOA has a direct climate impact through the radiative forcing of the atmosphere and contributes to the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) formation. Therefore, it is extremely important to quantify VOCs in different atmospheric environments and from various emission sources. Monitoring and assessment of VOCs is, therefore, becoming exceedingly important for air pollution mitigation strategies.

Topics of interest for this Special issue will include but are not limited to:

  • Atmospheric chemistry of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Analytical techniques for atmospheric measurements
  • Laboratory and field experiments
  • Eddy covariance flux measurements
  • Biosphere–atmosphere interactions
  • Atmospheric models and satellite remote
  • Health impact of VOCs

Dr. Chinmoy Sarkar
Dr. Roger Seco
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • volatile organic compounds
  • analytical techniques
  • atmospheric chemistry
  • numerical modeling
  • biosphere–atmosphere interactions
  • satellite remote sensing
  • laboratory and field experiments

Published Papers (7 papers)

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16 pages, 14172 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Seasonal and Diurnal Concentration Profiles of BVOCs in Coniferous and Deciduous Forests
by Helko Borsdorf, Maja Bentele, Michael Müller, Corinna Rebmann and Thomas Mayer
Atmosphere 2023, 14(9), 1347; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14091347 - 26 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1184
Abstract
Ambient atmospheric concentrations of isoprene and monoterpenes were measured at two forest sites, one deciduous and one coniferous, over the year 2022. Both sites in a regional area were sampled monthly between April and September. The samples were taken using sorbent tubes and [...] Read more.
Ambient atmospheric concentrations of isoprene and monoterpenes were measured at two forest sites, one deciduous and one coniferous, over the year 2022. Both sites in a regional area were sampled monthly between April and September. The samples were taken using sorbent tubes and analyzed with thermal desorption–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The highest concentrations were determined in August at both sites. While isoprene is the most abundant compound at the deciduous forest with an average concentration of 5.59 µg m−3 in August, α-pinene and β-pinene dominate throughout the year at the coniferous forest with the highest concentrations also in August (3.44 µg m−3 and 1.51 µg m−3). Because other monoterpenes (camphene, sabinene, 3-carene, p-cymene and limonene) are also emitted in significant amounts, the total concentration measured in the coniferous forest is higher (7.96 µg m−3 in August) in comparison to the deciduous forest (6.08 µg m−3). Regarding the detected monoterpenes in the deciduous forest, sabinene is the dominant monoterpene in addition to α-pinene and is sometimes present in higher (July) or equal (August) concentrations. The seasonal and diurnal concentrations of all monoterpenes correlate very well with each other at both sites. An exception is sabinene with a diurnal concentration profile similar to isoprene. Full article
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17 pages, 2815 KiB  
Article
Passive Hydrocarbon Sampling in a Shale Oil and Gas Production Area Shows Spatially Heterogeneous Air Toxics Exposure Based on Type and Proximity to Emission Sources
by Gunnar W. Schade and Emma N. Heienickle
Atmosphere 2023, 14(4), 744; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14040744 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1645
Abstract
Shale oil and gas production areas are especially active in Texas. The Eagle Ford Shale in south central Texas contributes substantially to US oil and gas production; it has repeatedly been the focus of air quality studies due to its associated emissions. Among [...] Read more.
Shale oil and gas production areas are especially active in Texas. The Eagle Ford Shale in south central Texas contributes substantially to US oil and gas production; it has repeatedly been the focus of air quality studies due to its associated emissions. Among these emissions are hazardous air pollutants such as benzene, a known carcinogen. To monitor exposure to such compounds, we teamed up with local citizens in 2019 to begin a passive sampling study for hydrocarbons. The study tracked selected non-methane hydrocarbons at six locations throughout a busy central production area of the shale. A state air quality monitoring station allowed for a comparison exercise, and we report both the results of that exercise and the observations from various properties affected by the surrounding oil and gas exploration activities. The passive samplers accurately reflected mean to median ambient hydrocarbon levels despite high variability and skewness in the hourly measurements. Field sites either right next to oil and gas production pads, surrounded by more surface pads than other sites, or affected by an additional emission source showed higher exposure to selected hydrocarbons. Passive sampling shows promise to bridge the gap between centralized air monitoring and campaign-style mobile monitoring to evaluate hydrocarbon emissions and abundances. It is a cost-effective way to provide both spatial and temporal information on exposure levels. Full article
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18 pages, 1698 KiB  
Article
Measurement of Atmospheric Volatile and Intermediate Volatility Organic Compounds: Development of a New Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer
by Christos Kaltsonoudis, Olga Zografou, Angeliki Matrali, Elias Panagiotopoulos, Alexandros Lekkas, Mariangela Kosmopoulou, Dimitris Papanastasiou, Konstantinos Eleftheriadis and Spyros N. Pandis
Atmosphere 2023, 14(2), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020336 - 7 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1820
Abstract
A new gas inlet port combined with a novel ionization scheme have been developed and coupled to a high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOF MS) for the detection and measurement of atmospheric volatile (VOCs) and intermediate volatility organic compounds (IVOCs). Ions are produced predominantly [...] Read more.
A new gas inlet port combined with a novel ionization scheme have been developed and coupled to a high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOF MS) for the detection and measurement of atmospheric volatile (VOCs) and intermediate volatility organic compounds (IVOCs). Ions are produced predominantly by charge transfer reactions in a low-temperature plasma ionization source with minimal fragmentation. Enhanced sensitivity is accomplished by incorporating an increased-size inlet capillary in a transverse arrangement to maximize throughput in the ionization source. Additional design aspects of the new mass spectrometer enabling superior transmission include a large acceptance ion funnel and a segmented radio frequency (RF) ion guide with increased space charge storage capacity. An orthogonal TOF analyzer equipped with a two-stage reflectron and tuned to second order is employed for the determination of the mass-to-charge ratio of the ions, with a mass resolving power of >20 k at mass 500 Th. The performance of the instrument was evaluated in tests using VOC standards and in atmospheric chamber experiments to demonstrate the ability to measure a wide range of organic compounds with different functional groups. Linear signal response is demonstrated over a wide range of VOCs used in the calibration processes in the ppb range, while the instrument exhibits linear response in the ppt range as well. Detection limits as low as 1 ppt are accomplished. The potential applications of this new TOF MS instrument were demonstrated in a pilot atmospheric simulation chamber experiment. Full article
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19 pages, 2330 KiB  
Article
Efficacy of the CO Tracer Technique in Partitioning Biogenic and Anthropogenic Atmospheric CO2 Signals in the Humid Subtropical Eastern Highland Rim City of Cookeville, Tennessee
by Wilson K. Gichuhi and Lahiru P. Gamage
Atmosphere 2023, 14(2), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020208 - 19 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1660
Abstract
Accurate accounting of the partition between anthropogenic and biogenic carbon dioxide mixing ratios (CO2Anth and CO2Bio) in urban-based CO2 measurements is key to developing effective emission reduction strategies since such measurements can provide an independent catalogue of local and [...] Read more.
Accurate accounting of the partition between anthropogenic and biogenic carbon dioxide mixing ratios (CO2Anth and CO2Bio) in urban-based CO2 measurements is key to developing effective emission reduction strategies since such measurements can provide an independent catalogue of local and regional CO2 emission inventories. In an attempt to delineate the contribution of CO2Bio to the overall urban CO2 mixing ratio enhancements, carbon monoxide (CO) was utilized as a tracer, following CO2 and CO mixing ratio measurements using a wavelength-scanned cavity ring-down spectrometer (CRDS). These measurements were performed in Cookeville, TN, (36.1628° N, 85.5016° W), a medium-sized city within the Eastern Highland Rim region of the United States. Between the years 2017 and 2019, the average seasonal wintertime CO2Bio mixing ratios varied between −0.65 ± 3.44 ppm and 0.96 ± 2.66 ppm. During the springtime, the observed CO2Bio signals were largely negative while the CO2Anth values were generally lower than the wintertime values. The contribution of CO from the isoprene oxidation reaction with the hydroxyl radical (OH) (COisoprene) to the overall CO enhancement during the growing season was estimated to be ~17–27 ppb, underscoring the importance of considering the contribution of COisoprene to untangling different CO2Anth and CO2Bio sources and sinks in high isoprene-emitting urban environments. Full article
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17 pages, 5415 KiB  
Article
Characteristics, Secondary Transformation Potential and Health Risks of Atmospheric Volatile Organic Compounds in an Industrial Area in Zibo, East China
by Baolin Wang, Ziang Li, Zhenguo Liu, Yuchun Sun, Chen Wang, Yang Xiao, Xiaochen Lu, Guihuan Yan and Chongqing Xu
Atmosphere 2023, 14(1), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14010158 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1716
Abstract
As an important anthropogenic source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), industrial emissions have a significant impact on air quality and human health. In this study, the characteristics, chemical reactivities, and health risks of VOCs around an industrial park in Zibo were analyzed at [...] Read more.
As an important anthropogenic source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), industrial emissions have a significant impact on air quality and human health. In this study, the characteristics, chemical reactivities, and health risks of VOCs around an industrial park in Zibo were analyzed at two sampling sites. The results showed that the concentrations of total VOCs at Dongzhang Community (DZ) and Special School (SS) sites were 113.12 ppb and 139.40 ppb, respectively, with oxygenated VOCs (OVOCs) as the most abundant species, accounting for 42–45%, followed by alkanes (19.3–19.6%). Diurnal variation of OVOCs exhibited noticeable peaks at 3:00, which may be related to the nighttime sneaky emissions of some enterprises. OVOCs were the species with the highest photochemical activity, with an average contribution of 56.5% to OH radical loss rate and 57% to ozone generation. In addition, OVOCs contributed 40% to secondary organic aerosol formation potential at both sites, second only to aromatics (55%). Acrolein and 1,2-dichloropropane presented the highest non-cancer and cancer risks to human health. The results highlight the importance of OVOCs in some industrial areas. Full article
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11 pages, 1273 KiB  
Article
NMVOC Emissions from Solvents Use in Greece: Monitoring and Assessment
by Ioannis Sebos and Leonidas Kallinikos
Atmosphere 2023, 14(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14010024 - 23 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1459
Abstract
The use of solvents and other volatile organic chemicals is a significant source of Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds (NMVOCs) emissions. Due to the wide spectrum of applications of solvents and numerous locations where these occur, the estimation of NMVOCs emissions can be challenging. [...] Read more.
The use of solvents and other volatile organic chemicals is a significant source of Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds (NMVOCs) emissions. Due to the wide spectrum of applications of solvents and numerous locations where these occur, the estimation of NMVOCs emissions can be challenging. The aim of this paper is to present the methodological framework used in Greece for the estimation of NMVOCs emissions. It covers processes and products that use solvents and other volatile organic chemicals in several industries, as well as in households. The framework is based both on existing methods found in the literature and on new emission factors developed in order to reflect the mitigation potential of EU Directives and national legislation aiming at the reduction of NMVOCs emissions. The developed framework was used to forecast future NMVOCs emissions and assess the implemented mitigation actions. Results were verified by comparison with solvent emission estimates from the European Solvent Industry Group. Full article
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10 pages, 3716 KiB  
Brief Report
Potential Implications of the Sesquiterpene Presence over the Remote Marine Boundary Layer in the Arctic Region
by Keyhong Park, Blanca Rodriguez, Jerry Thomas, Dasa Gu, Miming Zhang, Chinmoy Sarkar, Alex Guenther and Saewung Kim
Atmosphere 2023, 14(5), 823; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14050823 - 3 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
We present reactive VOC observations over the North Pacific and the Arctic Ocean from airborne and shipborne measurements, investigating, in particular, distributions of biogenic volatile organic compounds that may be emitted from phytoplankton. In contrast to terrestrial observations, isoprene (C5H8 [...] Read more.
We present reactive VOC observations over the North Pacific and the Arctic Ocean from airborne and shipborne measurements, investigating, in particular, distributions of biogenic volatile organic compounds that may be emitted from phytoplankton. In contrast to terrestrial observations, isoprene (C5H8), the most dominant BVOC emission from the terrestrial ecosystem, was mostly present under the lower detection limit along with monoterpenes (C10H16), the second largest emission from the terrestrial ecosystem. However, we consistently detected sesquiterpenes (C15H24) over the Arctic Ocean for the two Arctic cruises. The results of the analysis of sorbent cartridge samplings conducted over the Arctic Ocean on Korean icebreaker R/V Araon in 2016 and 2017 illustrate that few tens ppt levels of sesquiterpenes were present over the Arctic Ocean. Moreover, the concentration variation was positively correlated with the quantitative indicators of ocean biological activities, such as chlorophyll-a, dissolved DMS, and the ratio of dissolved O2 and Ar. This suggests that further investigations on sesquiterpene’s emission and atmospheric transformation processes over the marine boundary layer are required. Full article
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