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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2012 Mar;62(3):287-98.

Quantification of emission factor uncertainty.

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Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Division, National Exposure Research Laboratory Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA.


Emissions factors are important for estimating and characterizing emissions from sources of air pollution. There is no quantitative indication of uncertainty for these emission factors, most factors do not have an adequate data set to compute uncertainty, and it is very difficult to locate the data for those that do. The objectives are to compare the current emission factors of Electric Generating Unit NOx sources with currently available continuous emission monitoring data, develop quantitative uncertainty indicators for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data quality rated emission factors, and determine the possible ranges of uncertainty associated with EPA's data quality rating of emission factors. EPA's data letter rating represents a general indication of the robustness of the emission factor and is assigned based on the estimated reliability of the tests used to develop the factor and on the quantity and representativeness of the data. Different sources and pollutants that have the same robustness in the measured emission factor and in the representativeness of the measured values are assumed to have a similar quantifiable uncertainty. For the purposes of comparison, we assume that the emission factor estimates from source categories with the same letter rating have enough robustness and consistency that we can quantify the uncertainty of these common emission factors based on the qualitative indication of data quality which is known for almost all factors. The results showed that EPA's current emission factor values for NOx emissions from combustion sources were found to be reasonably representative for some sources; however AP-42 values should be updated for over half of the sources to reflect current data. The quantified uncertainty ranges were found to be 25-62% for A rated emission factors, 45-75% for B rated emission factors, 60-82% for C rated emission factors, and 69-86% for D rated emission factors, and 82-92% for E rated emission factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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