Science Inventory

Analysis of alternative pathways for reducing nitrogen oxide emissions


Loughlin, Dan, K. Kaufman, C. Lenox, AND B. Hubbell. Analysis of alternative pathways for reducing nitrogen oxide emissions. JOURNAL OF THE AIR & WASTE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION. Air & Waste Management Association, Pittsburgh, PA, 65(9):1083-1093, (2015).


State governments are charged with developing plans that demonstrate how air quality standards will be met and maintained. The results presented here provide an indication of the national and regional NOx reductions available beyond traditional controls via extensive adoption of energy efficiency, renewable electricity and vehicle electrification. Reductions in co-emitted pollutants are also quantified, illustrating the multi-pollutant benefits of these measures.


Strategies for reducing tropospheric ozone typically include modifying combustion processes to reduce the formation of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and applying control devices that remove NOx from the exhaust gases of power plants, industrial sources and vehicles. For portions of the U.S., these traditional controls may not be sufficient to achieve the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone. We apply the MARKet ALlocation (MARKAL) energy system model in a sensitivity analysis to explore whether additional NOx reductions can be achieved through extensive electrification of passenger vehicles, adoption of energy efficiency and conservation measures within buildings, and deployment of wind and solar power in the electric sector. Nationally and for each region of the country, we estimate the NOx implications of these measures. We also characterize accompanying changes in the carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter that are co-emitted with NOx. Energy efficiency and renewable electricity are shown to reduce NOx beyond traditional controls while also reducing other pollutants. In contrast, wide-spread light duty vehicle electrification produces varied results: carbon dioxide reductions generally occur, but the responses of NOx and the other pollutants differ from one region of the country to another.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 06/19/2015
Record Last Revised: 04/15/2016
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 311556