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Characterizing the emissions of fine particulate matter in the vicinity of a rail yard

Aerosol emissions from diesel combustion and other activities in rail yards can affect the health of urban populations. Fine particulate (PM[subscript 2.5]) concentrations near the Inman and Tilford rail yards in Atlanta, Georgia, are the highest measured in the state. The rail yard complex is surrounded by homes, schools, businesses and other industries. The impact of the aerosol emissions from these rail yards on local concentrations of PM[subscript 2.5] was quantified. Specifically, black carbon and PM[subscript 2.5] fuel-based emission factors from the rail yards were estimated by carbon balance using high time-resolution monitoring, a BC and PM[subscript 2.5] emissions inventory was estimated and dispersion modeling was applied to assess the impact of the rail yard activities on local air quality and the cost and benefits of upgrading locomotive engines with cleaner technologies was assessed. Further, baseline information that will allow a later evaluation of the improvement of local air quality as locomotives operating in the rail yards are upgraded was generated, and a composition profile of the rail yard aerosols was developed using chemical speciation techniques. These results found that activities from locomotives in the Inman and Tilford Rail yards lead to and an average emission factor of 6.0 ± 0.5 g of PM[subscript 2.5] per gallon of fuel and are responsible for increases in annual average concentrations of approximately 1.3 µg/m³ of PM[subscript 2.5] as far as 1 km from the perimeter of the rail yard complex. Approximately 11.7 tons of BC and 26 tons of PM[subscript 2.5] per year were emitted from the rail yards in 2011. The rail yards were found to be important sources of hydrocarbon-like organic aerosols (HOA) and black carbon from fuel (BCf). Upgrading the engines at the rail yards would decrease PM[subscript 2.5] emissions by about 9 t/year, reducing PM[subscript 2.5] concentrations around 0.5±0.1 µg/m³ as far as 1 km from the perimeter of the rail yard complex and producing monetized health benefits of approximately 24 million dollars per year.
Date12 January 2015
CreatorsGalvis Remolina, Boris
ContributorsRussell, Armistead G.
PublisherGeorgia Institute of Technology
Source SetsGeorgia Tech Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Archive
Detected LanguageEnglish

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