2017 Progress Report: Project 2: Assessment of Energy-Related Sources, Factors and Transitions Using Novel High-Resolution Ambient Air Monitoring Networks and Personal Monitors

EPA Grant Number: R835871C002
Subproject: this is subproject number 002 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R835871
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Solutions for Energy, AiR, Climate and Health Center (SEARCH)
Center Director: Bell, Michelle L.
Title: Project 2: Assessment of Energy-Related Sources, Factors and Transitions Using Novel High-Resolution Ambient Air Monitoring Networks and Personal Monitors
Investigators: Gentner, Drew R. , Breysse, Patrick N. , Zaitchik, Ben , Kerkez, Branko , Katz, Howard , Peccia, Jordan , Koehler, Kirsten
Institution: Yale University , The Johns Hopkins University , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , University of Michigan
Current Institution: Yale University , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , The Johns Hopkins University , University of Michigan
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2020 (Extended to September 30, 2022)
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 2016 through September 30,2017
RFA: Air, Climate And Energy (ACE) Centers: Science Supporting Solutions (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air , Climate Change , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Airborne Particulate Matter Health Effects , Environmental Engineering , Safer Chemicals


The second year of Project 2 has focused on the completion of the stationary and portable multipollutant monitor design and prototyping (Objective 1), in-field/lab testing, and preparations for the field measurements of Project 2, which began piloting at the end of year 2 (Objectives 2 and 3). This is consistent with the stated objectives of the proposal.

Objective 1: Develop novel online multipollutant monitors to simultaneously measure air pollutants and greenhouse gases (GHGs) (i.e., CO, CO2, CH4, PM2.5, NO2, O3, SO2, oxidative potential, volatile organic compounds [VOCs]).

Objective 2: Develop a network of sites for stationary monitors during field deployment and protocols for personal sampling.

Objective 3: Develop plans and materials for the personal exposure study.

Progress Summary:

Objective 1

The electrical system for the multipollutant monitor was completed and tested. It was designed to have modularized functions on inpidual circuit boards to enable easier in-field maintenance and replacements. The electronic circuits for particulate matter (PM), CO, CO2, SO2, O3, NO, CH4 and NO2 sensors were designed and tested to measure their corresponding analyses at trace concentrations, enabled in part by low-noise circuitry. New exploratory sensor technology for oxidative potential sensor has been developed by Howard Katz. We published our findings on the use of polymer semiconductors in NO2 sensors. NO2-responsive polymer-based organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) were described. This work demonstrates the capability of increasing selectivity and calibration of OFET sensors by modulating redox and aggregation properties of polymer semiconductors.

Design and fabrication of custom sensor manifolds and external housing. We have designed a compact sensor manifold, which we have printed and tested for sensor performance and chemical losses. The PM sensor has a separate inlet placed along the gas sampling manifold. The inlet is shielded from light, is made of metal and electronically grounded to reduce charged particle losses, and has a coarse metal screen to prevent the intrusion of very large (> 20 ┬Ám) particles or insects.

Preliminary testing of the monitors. Several roadside tests with partial multipollutant monitors in downtown New Haven, Connecticut, captured elevated CO, NO2 and PM concentrations from traffic. Additional testing was completed during Year 2 by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Solutions for Energy, AiR, Climate and Health Center (SEARCH) Center team, including a thorough investigation of the prototypes of the SEARCH stationary PM monitors. We also evaluated the influence of humidity changes and movement on the accuracy of the monitors.

Data assimilation platform and cyber infrastructure. Low-power cellular communications have been incorporated, with data temporarily stored locally in case of communications failure. Real-time cyber infrastructure has previously been developed in collaboration with Branko Kerkez to route sensor feeds, store readings and visualize sensor streams. An online platform was laid out to visualize the data through PC and smartphone Web browsers.

Objective 2

Site selection has been handled by co-PI Kirsten Kohler and has focused on a set of initial sites that co-locate with other existing instrumentation at existing sampling sites. We have designed a network design strategy that uses weighted random sampling to site monitors. Geographic information was collected considering various factors that impact Baltimore, Maryland, air quality, and each category was weighted in accordance with priorities for the SEARCH Center.

Objective 3

Plans and materials for the personal exposure study have been developed by postdoctoral researcher Misti Zamora and Prof. Kohler at JHU. This has included developing participant recruitment materials, selection strategy/protocol, survey materials and sampling plans. As part of the personal exposure sampling plans, we have submitted all Institutional Review Board (IRB) materials to Yale and JHU and received approval on 2/25/2016. Portable units will be deployed with study participants potentially as early as winter 2018, with recruitment and subject surveys and interviews starting winter 2018. Calibration protocols and duplicate measurement methods are under development for stationary and personal monitors, both before deployment and in-field calibration (both between units and with in-field zero and span check tanks).

Future Activities:

Year 3 of the project will primarily include the building of the finalized mulitpollutant monitors and the deployment of the fixed stationary network (Objective 2) and the start of personal exposure monitoring (Objective 3). This will include the completion of our detailed assessment of monitor performance in both laboratory controlled conditions and field environments, along with evaluation of monitors co-located with reference instrumentation. Objective 2 and 3's data analysis sub-objectives will then begin with incoming data from the networks. All IRB approvals will be renewed, as required.

Journal Articles on this Report : 2 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 3 publications 2 publications in selected types All 2 journal articles
Other center views: All 114 publications 69 publications in selected types All 69 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Gentner DR, Xiong F. Tracking pollutant emissions. Nature Geoscience 2017;10(12):883-884.
abstract available   full text available
R835871 (2018)
R835871 (2019)
R835871 (2020)
R835871C002 (2017)
  • Full-text: Nature- Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Nature- Abstract HTML
  • Other: ResearchGate-Abstract
  • Journal Article Li H, Dailey J, Kale T, Besar K, Koehler K, Katz HE. Sensitive and selective NO2 sensing based on alkyl- and alkylthio-thiophene polymer conductance and conductance ratio changes from differential chemical doping. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017;9(24):20501-20507.
    abstract available   full text available
    R835871 (2017)
    R835871 (2018)
    R835871 (2019)
    R835871 (2020)
    R835871C002 (2017)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: ACS-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: ACS-Abstract
  • Other: ACS-Full Text PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Air pollution, ambient air quality, criteria pollutants, exposure assessment, health effects, human exposure, mixtures, oxidative stress, particulate matter, source apportionment, transport

    Relevant Websites:

    The SEARCH Center: Solutions for Energy, AiR, Climate, and Health Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R835871    Solutions for Energy, AiR, Climate and Health Center (SEARCH)

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R835871C001 Project 1: Modeling Emissions from Energy Transitions
    R835871C002 Project 2: Assessment of Energy-Related Sources, Factors and Transitions Using Novel High-Resolution Ambient Air Monitoring Networks and Personal Monitors
    R835871C003 Project 3: Air Quality and Climate Change Modeling: Improving Projections of the Spatial and Temporal Changes of Multipollutants to Enhance Assessment of Public Health in a Changing World
    R835871C004 Project 4: Human Health Impacts of Energy Transitions: Today and Under a Changing World