ARL Weekly News – March 18, 2022

Recent Events

ARL to Measure Street-Level Greenhouse Gasses and Air Pollutants with an Instrumented Mobile Van

ARL’s ASMD measurement team, including Paul Kelley, Phil Stratton, Xinrong Ren, and Winston Luke, are preparing for mobile measurements of greenhouse gasses and air pollutants as well as meteorological parameters in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. The instrumented mobile van, tentatively called the Mobile Methane and Meteorology Observing Platform (M3OP), is equipped to measure carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, black carbon, nitrogen oxides. Additionally, three-dimensional wind vectors, standard meteorological parameters, vehicle position, speed, and heading will be measured. A NIST Aeris ethane analyzer will also be deployed on the platform. The combination of methane and ethane detection can be used to distinguish methane emissions from pipeline gas leak (containing ethane) and biogenic sources (without ethane) such as landfills and wastewater treatment.

One of the goals is to estimate ground level pollutant emission rates from known sources while surveying the region for unknown sources in the Baltimore-Washington area. Estimated emission rates from the observations will be compared to emission inventories, and available for inverse modeling studies. Results from this research can not only provide policy relevant science to decision makers but will also allow rapid and cost-effective detection of leaks in the natural gas distribution system and identify potential sources of fugitive methane emissions which will help meet established GHG reduction goals. In addition, the platform will measure the spatial distribution of air pollutants such as black carbon and nitrogen oxides, which will help to address issues such as environmental justice in urban areas.