Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Analysis of Dynamic, Flexible NOx and SO2 Abatement from Power Plants in the Eastern U.S. and Texas

EPA Grant Number: R835216
Title: Analysis of Dynamic, Flexible NOx and SO2 Abatement from Power Plants in the Eastern U.S. and Texas
Investigators: McDonald-Buller, Elena , Allen, David T. , Webster, Mort D.
Institution: The University of Texas at Austin , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Wilson, Wil
Project Period: June 1, 2012 through May 31, 2016
Project Amount: $500,000
RFA: Dynamic Air Quality Management (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Air


Federal standards for fine particulate matter and tropospheric ozone have become increasingly stringent over the past several decades. States preparing attainment plans will be challenged with accounting for the regional and longer-range transport of these pollutants and their precursors and with the higher marginal costs of additional permanent or annual emissions reductions in the future. This study will develop methods for evaluating the air quality impacts and cost-effectiveness of time-differentiated trading of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide from electric generation units. Two markets will serve as case studies: the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which is an intra-state grid, and the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) grid, which is an inter-state grid. The following hypothesis will be tested:

  1. Time-differentiated dispatching strategies lead to reductions in ozone and fine particulate matter concentrations and exposure that are comparable to other technologies.
  2. Hybrid scenarios that combine time-differentiated trading and other technologies within a single electric grid provide more cost-effective control and greater air quality benefits than a single approach.
  3. The effectiveness of emissions trading strategies is sensitive to the selection of an air quality impact metric.
  4. An emissions pricing strategy can be developed that optimizes the joint abatement of multiple pollutants by considering the integrated impact.


An integrated modeling approach for the ERCOT and PJM grids, respectively, will be used. Electricity generation dispatching that occurs from the imposition of emissions pricing scenarios will be modeled using the PowerWorld Simulator version 14. Optimal Power Flow (OPF) mode, which determines the generation required to meet electricity demand while enforcing transmission constraints and security contingencies, will be used to simulate changes in emissions and incremental generation costs. The Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions (CAMx) with and without emissions changes due to time-differentiated trading or other technologies will be used to evaluate air quality and test the hypotheses.

Expected Results:

This study provides the framework for evaluating the air quality impacts and cost-effectiveness of a dynamic air quality management strategy that would provide incentives for maximizing reductions in emissions of pollutants associated with electricity generation.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 4 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

air, ozone, particulate matter, electricity generation, emissions trading

Progress and Final Reports:

2012 Progress Report
2013 Progress Report