Monitoring the Effects of Power Plant Emissions on Air Quality using NASA EOS
Authors: Kaitlyn Collins, Idalina Walker, Kajli Agrawal, Paul Warner
Mentors/Advisors (affiliation): Dr. Richard Ferrare (NASA Langley Research Center),
Dr. Kenton Ross (Science Systems and Applications Inc., NASA Langley Research Center), Dr. Ana Prados (Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County), Hon. J. Jack Kennedy Jr. (Wise County Clerk of Court), Giovanni Colberg (DEVELOP, Wise County), Yanina Colberg (DEVELOP, Wise County)
Team Location: Wise Circuit Court Clerk Office
Abstract: Coal-burning power plant technology has been improving over the years, becoming more environmentally friendly. Virginia City, located in Wise County, Virginia, and Carbo, located in Russell County, Virginia, both have coal-burning power plants. The Clinch River Plant (CRP), located in Carbo, was completed in 1957 and is a part of the American Electric Power (AEP) company. The Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, found in the heart of Virginia City and operated by Dominion Power, began commercial operations in July 2012. The CRP uses traditional coal-burning technology, while the Virginia City plant uses clean coal-powered generation technology to produce energy. Both plants provide a tremendous opportunity for monitoring and comparing air quality impacts in the region. Through the use of NASA Earth observations, the project monitored emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and aerosols that are being released into the atmosphere from the result of burning coal. NASA satellite data was used in combination with geographic information systems (GIS), and in-situ measurements from state and local sources, to compare environmental impacts between the older coal-burning technology found at the CRP and the newer clean coal-powered technology at Virginia City. This project provided improved understanding of the lessened impact of clean coal technology, and how this technology has been enhanced since the 1950s.
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