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Volume 17, issue 14 | Copyright

Special issue: Observations and Modeling of the Green Ocean Amazon (GoAmazon2014/5)...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 8987-8998, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-8987-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 26 Jul 2017

Research article | 26 Jul 2017

Power plant fuel switching and air quality in a tropical, forested environment

Adan S. S. Medeiros1,2, Gisele Calderaro1, Patricia C. Guimarães1, Mateus R. Magalhaes1, Marcos V. B. Morais4, Sameh A. A. Rafee4, Igor O. Ribeiro1, Rita V. Andreoli3, Jorge A. Martins5, Leila D. Martins6, Scot T. Martin7, and Rodrigo A. F. Souza3 Adan S. S. Medeiros et al.
  • 1Post-graduate Program in Climate and Environment, CLIAMB, INPA/UEA, Av. André Araújo, 2936, 69060-001, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
  • 2Amazonas State University, Center of Superior Studies of Tefé, R. Brasília, 2127, 69470-000, Tefé, Amazonas, Brazil
  • 3Amazonas State University, Superior School of Technology, Av Darcy Vargas, 1200, 69065-020, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
  • 4Post-graduate Program in Environmental Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Av. Dos Pioneiros, 3131, 86047-125, Londrina, Paraná, Brazil
  • 5Department of Physics, Federal University of Technology, Av. Dos Pioneiros, 3131, 86047-125, Londrina, Paraná, Brazil
  • 6Department of Chemistry, Federal University of Technology, Av. Dos Pioneiros, 3131, 86047-125, Londrina, Paraná, Brazil
  • 7School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, 02138, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Abstract. How a changing energy matrix for electricity production affects air quality is considered for an urban region in a tropical, forested environment. Manaus, the largest city in the central Amazon Basin of Brazil, is in the process of changing its energy matrix for electricity production from fuel oil and diesel to natural gas over an approximately 10-year period, with a minor contribution by hydropower. Three scenarios of urban air quality, specifically afternoon ozone concentrations, were simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-Chem) model. The first scenario used fuel oil and diesel for electricity production, which was the reality in 2008. The second scenario was based on the fuel mix from 2014, the most current year for which data were available. The third scenario considered nearly complete use of natural gas for electricity production, which is the anticipated future, possibly for 2018. For each case, inventories of anthropogenic emissions were based on electricity generation, refinery operations, and transportation. Transportation and refinery operations were held constant across the three scenarios to focus on effects of power plant fuel switching in a tropical context. The simulated NOx and CO emissions for the urban region decrease by 89 and 55%, respectively, after the complete change in the energy matrix. The results of the simulations indicate that a change to natural gas significantly decreases maximum afternoon ozone concentrations over the population center, reducing ozone by >70% for the most polluted days. The sensitivity of ozone concentrations to the fuel switchover is consistent with a NOx-limited regime, as expected for a tropical forest having high emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds, high water vapor concentrations, and abundant solar radiation. There are key differences in a shifting energy matrix in a tropical, forested environment compared to other world environments. Policies favoring the burning of natural gas in place of fuel oil and diesel have great potential for ozone reduction and improved air quality for growing urban regions located in tropical, forested environments around the world.

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Short summary
How a changing energy matrix for power production affects air quality is considered for an urban region in a tropical, forested environment. The atmospheric chemistry modeling study shows that the burning of fuel oil and diesel have enormous potential for regional ozone production (an important pollutant and air quality indicator). Conversely, substitution with natural gas has an excellent effect on comparative air quality and human health.
How a changing energy matrix for power production affects air quality is considered for an urban...
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