Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Power plant emissions verified remotely at Four Corners sites, largest point source pollution in U.S.

Date:
May 20, 2014
Source:
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Summary:
Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from two coal-fired power plants in the Four Corners area of northwest New Mexico, the largest point source of pollution in America, were measured remotely. The study is the first to show that space-based techniques can successfully verify international regulations on fossil energy emissions.

The Four Corners coal-fired power plant, near Farmington, N.M. is a major source of pollutants, with measurements confirmed by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers.
Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from two coal-fired power plants in the Four Corners area of northwest New Mexico, the largest point source of pollution in America, were measured remotely by a Los Alamos National Laboratory team. Led by Laboratory senior scientist Manvendra Dubey, the study is the first to show that space-based techniques can successfully verify international regulations on fossil energy emissions. Furthermore, the study was able to distinguish that emissions from the nearby San Juan Generating Station are actually less polluting than those from the nearby Four Corners Generating Station.

"A critical barrier to any future international treaty aimed towards controlling greenhouse and pollutant gas emissions is our inability to verify inventories and reduction of emissions claimed by individual nations following implementation of new technologies" Dubey noted.

He stressed that "in-stack monitoring of power-plant emissions is mandatory in the United States, and they are reported to the EPA to comply with the US Clean Air Act, allowing us to test how well our verification method worked."

To verify emissions from the San Juan and Four Corners coal-fired power plants, the Los Alamos team deployed ground-based solar spectrometers and point sensors to measure atmospheric concentrations of gases at a site close to these power plants. Now that we have demonstrated the scientific feasibility of verification, we can use this to ensure that energy technology upgrades emissions reported by China and India are accurate, Dubey said.

"Using satellite-based remote-sensing equipment can allow scientists, and therefore policymakers, to determine with accuracy whether carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides detected in the vicinity are truly from the plant, or from other sources," said Rodica Lindenmaier, postdoctoral research associate and first author of the paper.

The team concludes in the paper that the "high frequency and precision ground-based remote sensing results provide the performance metric and sampling strategy for satellite-based measurements, permitting a global emission monitoring system."

The authors also monitored the isotopic 13C composition of CO2, which serves as a fingerprint of emissions from coal-fired power plants and matched it to that of the local coal. The author's remote observations also show that 75 percent of the atmosphere (~10 km) in the region containing these two power plants is polluted. The research was supported by Los Alamos' Laboratory Directed Research and Development funding program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Lindenmaier, M. K. Dubey, B. G. Henderson, Z. T. Butterfield, J. R. Herman, T. Rahn, S.-H. Lee. Multiscale observations of CO2, 13CO2, and pollutants at Four Corners for emission verification and attribution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1321883111

Cite This Page:

DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Power plant emissions verified remotely at Four Corners sites, largest point source pollution in U.S.." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520100527.htm>.
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory. (2014, May 20). Power plant emissions verified remotely at Four Corners sites, largest point source pollution in U.S.. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520100527.htm
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Power plant emissions verified remotely at Four Corners sites, largest point source pollution in U.S.." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520100527.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins