Improved Treatment of Atmospheric Organic Particulate Matter Concentrations from Biomass Combustion Emissions

EPA Grant Number: R833747
Title: Improved Treatment of Atmospheric Organic Particulate Matter Concentrations from Biomass Combustion Emissions
Investigators: Kreidenweis, Sonia M. , Collett Jr., Jeffrey L. , Hao, Wei Min , Heald, Colette L. , Jimenez, Jose-Luis , Kroll, Jesse H. , Onasch, T. , Trimborn, Achim , Worsnop, Douglas R.
Institution: Colorado State University , Aerodyne Research Inc. , Fire Sciences Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Research Station
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: September 1, 2007 through December 31, 2010 (Extended to December 31, 2012)
Project Amount: $598,645
RFA: Sources and Atmospheric Formation of Organic Particulate Matter (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air


Experimental work to be conducted at the Fire Sciences Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Missoula, MT.; analyses to be conducted at the four collaborating institutions.


We propose to measure, for the first time, volatility distributions, as functions of both dilution and temperature, of open biomass burning emissions for a variety of fuel types relevant to U.S. air quality. We propose to interpret data using semivolatile partitioning models, and to implement and test new biomass-burning emissions maps and partitioning models in large-scale model runs.


Combustion emissions will be generated in the combustion chamber of the Fire Sciences Laboratory and the particulate organic mass concentrations evaluated as functions of dilution and temperature. We will also measure emission factors for levoglucosan, a key biomass burning tracers. Measurements will be made at high time resolution and down to low organic aerosol loadings relevant to the ambient atmosphere, unlike the high particulate matter concentrations required for earlier filter-based source profile determinations. Data will be fit to partitioning models that treat the semivolatile nature of the emissions. The GOES-Chem model will be used to test and evaluate the new representations.

Expected Results:

Improved representation of the role of biomass combustion in affecting ambient PM2.5 levels is expected to be a key contribution to the EPA’s efforts in improving understanding of the sources of atmospheric organic particulate matter. We anticipate that our semivolatile-partitioning studies will yield data more representative of the atmospheric fate of biomass combustion emissions, and that the modules developed and tested as part of this proposed effort will improve the representation of U.S. ambient organic PM2.5 concentrations.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 30 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 23 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Primary organic aerosol, semivolatile organics, volatile organic carbon (VOC), organic gas-aerosol partitioning, modeling, volatility distribution, thermal denuder, levoglucosan, source profiles, fire emissions, fire maps,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2008 Progress Report
  • 2009 Progress Report
  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012
  • Final Report