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Modeling of Distributed Generation Air Quality Impacts

The electric system is experiencing rapid growth in the adoption of a mix of distributed renewable and fossil fuel sources, along with increasing amounts of off-grid generation. New operational regimes may have unforeseen consequences for air quality. A three-dimensional microscale chemical transport model driven by an urban wind model was used to assess gaseous air pollutant and particulate matter impacts within ~10 km of fossil-fueled distributed power generation (DG) facilities during the early afternoon of a typical summer day in Houston, Texas. Three types of DG scenarios were considered in the presence of motor vehicle emissions and a realistic urban canopy: 1) a 25 MW natural gas turbine operating at steady state in either simple cycle or combined heating and power (CHP) mode; 2) a 25 MW simple cycle gas turbine undergoing a cold start-up with either moderate or enhanced formaldehyde emissions; and 3) a datacenter generating 10 MW of emergency power with either diesel or natural gas-fired backup generators (BUGs) without pollution controls. The project was funded by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

References:
E. P. Olaguer, E. Knipping, S. Shaw, and S. Ravindran, 2016; “Microscale Air Quality Impacts of Distributed Power Generation Facilities,” J. Air and Waste Management Assoc., submitted.

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