Emissions research garners national EPA award for UMR

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On May 1, 2007

As part of a larger consortium, a team of researchers from the University of Missouri-Rolla has developed a test that will, for the first time, allow scientists to accurately gauge the impact jet aircraft emissions have on global climate change.

Their work garnered the team a 2007 Climate Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The award is being presented today (Tuesday, May 1, 2007) in Washington, D.C.

Led by Dr. Phil Whitefield, chair of chemistry at UMR and director of the UMR Center of Excellence for Aerospace Particulate Research, the UMR group is part of a larger consortium called the Joint Strike Fighter Emissions Test Development Team. Other members of the consortium include representatives from Naval Air Systems Command, Arnold Engineering Development Center, EPA, Aerodyne Research, University of California-Riverside and NASA.

For more than a decade, Whitefield and his fellow UMR researchers have been studying particulate emissions produced by aerospace activities, such as aircraft operations and rocket launches. Their work has led to the development of an internationally accepted approach to characterize the nature of particulate matter, or soot, in jet engine and rocket exhaust.

The new test protocol developed by the Joint Strike Fighter Emissions Test Development Team will characterize emissions using state-of-the-art instrumentation and will serve as a test bed to advance the scientific basis of environmental decision-making. The EPA’s current testing does not measure the critical environmental criteria, including particulate size, distribution and chemical species.

The new methodology enables the Department of Defense and commercial aircraft engine manufacturers to gather much more accurate data than was previously possible. It also significantly reduces engine run times during engine testing, lowering greenhouse gas and criteria air pollutant emissions. It also cuts the overall cost of testing by more than $1 million per aircraft engine tested.

UMR researchers working with Whitefield include:

Dr. Donald Hagen, professor of physics
Dr. Darryl Alofs, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering
Dr. Ralph Alexander, professor of physics
Dr. John Schmitt, associate professor of physics
Dr. Daniel White, associate professor emeritus of interdisciplinary engineering
Dr. Gary Gadbury, associate professor of mathematics and statistics
Otmar Schmid, adjunct assistant professor of physics
Prem Lobo, assistant director of the UMR Center of Excellence for Aerospace Particulate Emissions
Max Trueblood, senior research aide, UMR Cloud and Aerosol Sciences Laboratory (CASL)
Steven Achterberg, research specialist, UMR CASL
Benjamin Baker, senior research/laboratory technician, UMR CASL
Shane Standley, senior research/laboratory technician, UMR CASL
Max Alcorn, retired research technician, UMR CASL.

In addition, the late Ray Hopkins, former research engineer for UMR CASL, and more than 100 graduate and undergraduate research assistants contributed to this project.

The EPA established the Climate Protection Award in 1998 to recognize exceptional leadership, outstanding innovation, personal dedication and technical achievements in climate protection.

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On May 1, 2007. Posted in News