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Air Quality Research and Contract Reports: Miscellaneous Projects

Miscellaneous research and contract reports on air quality issues written by contractors for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Reports from Air Quality Research and Contract Projects related to miscellaneous projects are posted here as PDF files (Help with PDF) unless otherwise specified. Some reports have companion data files in various formats.

For comments and questions regarding these reports, please e-mail us at, put "Miscellaneous Contract Report Inquiry" in the subject line, and include the web address of the report PDF file in the e-mail text or attache the original report PDF file.

Comparing Ozone Precursor Responses and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Reactivity of Carbon Bond Version 7 Revision 1 (CB7r1) to Other Mechanisms - This project evaluated ozone responses to changes in its precursors and estimated reactivity of volatile organic compounds. This was achieved using CAMx box model for several locations in Texas. Results from different chemical mechanisms were compared. (June 2023)

Additional Mobile Laboratory Monitoring in San Antonio during the Air Quality Research Program Field Study in May 2017 - The University of Houston, Rice University, and Baylor University deployed the Mobile Air Quality Lab (MAQL) to Bexar County for more than three weeks during May 2017 in conjunction with other field deployments. Findings from this campaign show that for the modeled periods (99 hours of daytime observations), the ozone photochemistry was nitrogen oxides (NOX)-limited more than 80% of the time. (January 2018)

Science Synthesis Report: Atmospheric Impacts of Oil and Gas Development in Texas - Many studies of the effects of oil and gas development upon air quality have been published in recent years, due to the rapid growth of hydraulic fracturing technologies, and their ability to extract oil and gas from previously inaccessible shale formations. This study, conducted by David.D.Parrish, LLC and Ramboll Environ, summarizes the results of the recent air quality studies, and applies them to Texas. (June 2017)

Variability and Trend of Background Ozone over the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Region: Contributions from Out-of-State Emissions and Large-scale Circulation - This report, provided by Texas A&M - Galveston, analyzed year-to-year changes in ozone in the Houston area in an effort to determine the meteorological factors that affect these changes. The study focused upon the effects of a large-scale high pressure circulation known as the Bermuda High. (August 2016)

Solar Occultation Flux (SOF) Blind Ethylene Tracer Test - Ramboll Environ and FluxSense conducted this study to test the ability of the SOF method to quantify ethylene point source emissions. A "blind" tracer release of ethylene was conducted at the Maude Cobb Convention Center in Longview, TX in April 2015. The SOF team attempted to quantify the tracer emission rates, known only to the release operator. After the SOF team estimated and published the SOF-derived ethylene fluxes, the true release rates were presented for comparison. (December 2015)

Flare Performance Optimization: DRE/CE vs. Soot Phase I - This report is provided by Lamar University. From an operations standpoint, there are dual objectives for flares to accomplish: full destruction of hydrocarbons and negligible soot emission. In this project, the challenge of simultaneously addressing these two goals is examined through lab experiments conducted at Carleton University, development of a new chemical mechanism and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling. Finally, response-surface models relating soot yield and CE/DRE were developed. (September 2014)

DIAL Study Evaluation: Storage Tank Results and Model Evaluation - This report, provided by Eastern Research Group, Inc., evaluates storage tank measurements conducted during the City of Houston's DIAL project at at a refinery in Houston. (August 2012)

Expansion of Texas Land Use/Land Cover through Class Crosswalking and Lidar Parameterization of Arboreal Vegetation - This report, provided by Texas A&M University, documents the project that extends the TCEQ Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) to the 2010 TCEQ 12km Eastern Texas meteorological domain. It also provides key measurements of arboreal vegetation using lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) including surface roughness, crown bulk density, crown dimensions, and canopy height in a 25km2 area representative of East Texas. (April 2011)

The Alternative Fuel Fueling Facilities Study - This study, by E.H. Pechan & Associates, Inc., assessed the correlation between the installation of alternative fuel fueling facilities in ozone nonattainment areas and the deployment of fleet vehicles that use alternative fuels. This study also determined the emission reductions that could be achieved from replacing a diesel-powered engine in a motor vehicle with an engine utilizing alternative fuels. (June 2010)

The New Central Texas Land Use Land Cover Classification Project - Texas A&M University - Spatial Sciences Laboratory performed the land cover classification for approximately the central third of Texas. This was the second phase of land cover classification for Texas using the New Texas Land Cover classes. Classification was done using Landsat imagery from 2000 - 2002, with both leaf-on and leaf-off imagery, and ancillary data. (December 2008)

Cost Analysis of HRVOC Controls on Polymer Plants and Flares - This project by Environ, collected and analyzed information on projects undertaken to reduce emissions of HRVOC. Included in the investigation were HRVOC emission reduction projects undertaken by polymer manufacturing plants and HRVOC flaring reduction projects undertaken by polymer plants, olefins plants and petroleum refineries. (August 2008)

Assessment of Remote Sensing Technologies for Detecting and Estimating Emissions for Flares and Fugitives - This report, written by Environ, developed and assessed a list of commercially available optical remote sensing technologies capable of detecting and estimating emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and specific VOC contaminant species from flares and fugitive areas. (May 2008)

The 2007 Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL) Study - This study, by National Physical Laboratory, produced this report on DIAL measurements of industrial emissions sources in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria nonattainment area during summer 2007. Measurements focused on those industrial sources that are difficult to measure using conventional sampling techniques. (February 2008)

Assessment of Selected Leak Detection, Sampling, Testing, Measurement and Monitoring Methods for Estimating Emissions of Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds from Industrial Cooling Waters - This report, from the University of Texas at Austin, summarizes the results of a cooling tower project which involved the following tasks: (1) evaluation of selected VOC leak detection methods, (2) evaluation of selected semi-continuous and continuous water sampling and VOC measurement systems, (3) evaluation of instruments to continuously measure cooling water flow rate, and (4) development of a mass-transfer model of VOC emissions from cooling towers. (September 2004)

Flare Waste Gas Flow Rate and Composition Measurement Methodologies Evaluation Document - This report, by Shell Global Solutions, evaluates currently available flow measurement and gas composition measurement techniques; their applicability to the measurement of waste gas flow and composition in flare systems and their ability to meet the data quality objectives established by TCEQ. Additionally, this study evaluates current practices for controlling assist gas to waste gas ratios in flares. (July 2004)

Passive FTIR Phase I Testing of Simulated and Controlled Flare Systems (Revised) - This report, provided by URS Co., evaluates the feasibility of Passive Fourier Transform Infrared (PFTIR) spectroscopy as a method for measuring flare emissions, and the use of those measurements in calculating the combustion efficiency of flares. This report also has six appendices (zipped PDF files) . (June 2004)

Data Mining of the Relationship Between Volatile Organic Components and Transient High Ozone Formation - This interim report, developed through a grant and provided by staff of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Clarkson University, describes the use of data mining with environmental data. The aim is to identify the relationships between volatile organic components and transient high ozone formation in the Houston area. The report notes that, in Houston, short-term (one-hour) sharp increases are observed followed by a rapid decrease back to typical concentrations. Some components, such as ethylene, propylene etc., are thought to be the cause of the transient high-ozone formation based on some measurements from automatic gas chromatographs. Data mining is considered a reasonable method of extraction from historic gas-chromatograph data. As vast historic GC data is available, the goal is to design a DM process to extract the information from the data set. (July 2002)

Ozone Production Rate and Hydrocarbon Reactivity in Five Urban Areas: A Cause of High Ozone in Houston - This paper, written by staff at Brookhaven National Laboratory, discusses observations of ozone and ozone precursors taken from aircraft flights over Houston, Nashville, Phoenix, New York, and Philadelphia. The paper notes the significant differences in high concentrations of reactive volatile organic compounds in the Houston area that leads to ozone production rates that are two to five times higher than in the other 4 cities even though NOx concentrations are comparable. The conclusions address whether VOC observations are consistent with emission inventory estimates. (April 2002)

Chlorine Chemistry Studies - The following reports are received from contractors involving a series of projects to address chlorine chemistry:

NARSTO Model Inter-comparison (NMI) Study - Database Documentation (Draft) - This report, written by Sonoma Technology, Inc., describes the observational and model output data collected for the North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (NARSTO) model inter-comparison study - a major study comparing regional air quality modeling systems used for regulatory purposes in the United States and Canada under the auspices of NARSTO. (August 2001)

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