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ISSE Seed Project: International Center for Air Pollution and Energy Study (ICAPES)

Principal Investigator: Joshua Fu, Civil and Environmental Engineering

2014-2015 Report


The International Center for Air Pollution and Energy Studies (iCAPES) conducted further development of the Streamlined Edition of Air Benefit and Cost Analysis and Attainment Assessment System (ABaCAS-SE). ABaCAS-SE includes four modules that run sequentially. CoST-CE estimates the emission costs associated with future-year control strategies. RSM-VAT/CMAQ takes the emissions reduction from CoST-CE to provide a real-time air quality response of emissions change. Then SMAT-CE combines the monitoring data as well as the air quality data from RSM-VAT/CMAQ to assess if the attainment air quality goal has been reached. Subsequently, BenMAP-CE uses the air quality surface generated from SMAT-CE to estimate the health and economic benefits resulting from changes in air quality. Finally, ABaCAS-SE will integrate the results from these four modules to provide assessments of emissions control cost and their associated air quality, health, and economic benefits as well as estimate the cost/benefit ratio ($ benefit per $ cost).

2013-2014 Report

The International Center for Air Pollution and Energy Studies (iCAPES) conducted a couple of international collaborative research and outreach projects including the development of the Community Edition of Air Benefit and Cost Analysis and Attainment Assessment System (ABaCAS) and air quality assessment of potential VOC emission controls in Beijing, China. The tasks and progress achieved for the Air Benefit and Cost Analysis and Attainment Assessment System in community edition (ABaCAS-CE) from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 include: (1) The RSM-VAT-CE, BenMAP-CE, CoST-CE and SMAT-CE were integrated into the prototype of ABaCAS; (2) The link between CoST-CE and RSM-VAT-CE was developed so that control cost from pollutant reduction scenarios and its corresponding air quality benefit could be visualized and analyzed together; (3) The ABaCAS-CE was applied to the case study of Yangtze River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin-Heibei region in China. The creation, visualization and analysis capability of RSM-VAT was improved, as well as the computational speed and flexibility of ABaCAS-CE for application of BenMAP-CE. A user-friendly interface for the ABaCAS-CE, linking the BenMAP-CE, RSM-VAT-CE, CoST-CE and SMAT-CE together, was developed to provide information about total control cost, air quality change, and health benefits to support the decision making of regional air quality management; (4) An ABaCAS training workshop was held on May 28, 2014 at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, to introduce the tool to researchers and officials from universities, environmental agencies, and local governments in China. An international conference organized by UT, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University and South China University of Technology was held from May 29 to May 30, 2014; (5) The ABaCAS was developed as a community edition so that it can be promoted to the general public for their own application and research.

The other project, air quality assessment of potential VOC emission controls in Beijing, China, has the results from the development of a diurnal parking vapor emissions model. GPS data is being collected in Beijing and the progress is on-going. The iCAPES has engaged in various international activities, and hopes to develop exploratory collaborations in Chile and other countries.

2012-2013 Report

Led by Dr. Joshua Fu, ICAPES contributes solutions to complex problems in air pollution control and energy strategies through the evaluation of innovative and sustainable energy and air pollution control/prevention practices. The Center integrates theoretical advances, air quality monitoring data, and air quality models to develop sustainable energy strategies via interdisciplinary collaboration. The center promotes implementation of these strategies through community collaboration, leadership, and education to facilitate climate change adaptation. From July 2012 to June 2013, ICAPES has accomplished the following achievements:

  • contributed to a comprehensive, integrated set of software tools (ABaCAS: Air Benefit and Cost Assessment and Attainment System) to predict the impact of proposed pollution control technologies on air quality and to evaluate the resulting health and environmental benefits in comparison to cost of implementation.
  • applied several of the tools to to air quality problems in the Yangtze River Delta
  • partnered with EPA, the Energy Foundation, and Tsinghua University and Zhejiang University in China to convene the “International Conference on Air Pollution Control Benefit and Cost Assessment,” at Hangzhou, China in June, 2013. A preconference workshop providing training on ABaCAS was also held.
  • hosted visiting professors: Dr. Shuxaio Wang from Tsinghua University; Dr. Dustin Zhu from South China University of Technology; Dr. Yu Zhao from Nanjing University, China; Dr. George Lin from National Central University, Taiwan
  • secured $100,000 in external funding from the Energy Foundation

In 2013-2014 ICAPES will continue to:

  • conduct modeling assessments of climate and air quality interactions as well as the impacts of hemispheric transport of air pollutants to regional air quality and regional climate over the continental US and Asia
  • develop integrated control strategies to address issues associated with in­ternational transport of air pollutants and its climate effects across studied countries
  • improve the integrated ABaCAS tool to support the above activities and to provide decision support to improve the resilience of climate/air and energy infrastructure
  • support the US EPA in organizing international workshops and conferences in the US and China.