Research Screening Committee Meeting
July 26, 2001

This page updated June 30, 2005.

State of California


Research Screening Committee Meeting

Ramada Plaza Hotel
1231 Market Street
Lombard Room
San Francisco, CA 94103

July 26, 2001
9:30 a.m.



"Vehicle-to-Grid Demonstration Project: Grid Regulation Ancillary Service with a Battery Electric Vehicle," A. C. Propulsion, $164,871
  Opposition to California's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate is based in a large part on the cost premium for ZEVs over conventional vehicles, which leads to claims that emission control costs are excessively high. The proposed project would develop and demonstrate technology and systems that allow an electric vehicle to create value by deploying the vehicle's power systems to perform ancillary services for the power grid operator. This would lower the cost for ZEV ownership and ease or remove the argument that the associated emission reductions are too costly. The project's objective is to demonstrate the feasibility and practicality of electric-vehicle-based grid services, and to assess the economic value based on real operating data and real market prices for the service being provided. The project will install communications and control equipment into an existing battery-powered ZEV. It would also develop the infrastructure and algorithms to be used on the vehicle and by the power grid operator to demonstrate the effectiveness of such vehicles for absorbing and supplying power for grid regulation purposes. The results should provide confidence that effective power grid regulation can be accomplished, and that the value provided by the vehicle owner can be used to reduce the effective cost of ZEV ownership.


"Impact of NOx Surface Reactions on the Formation of Particles and Ozone, and the Development of Control Strategy Options," University of California, Irvine, $400,003
  The development of effective control strategies for ozone, particles, and associated photochemical air pollutants depends on an accurate description of the atmospheric chemistry of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in air quality models. While the gas-phase chemistry is reasonably well understood, the heterogeneous gas-liquid chemistry, especially for NOx is still not understood. As a result, current air quality models either do not include heterogeneous NOx chemistry at all, or treat it inaccurately. This project will address two key heterogeneous NOx reactions that are likely to be important in polluted airsheds in California: the hydrolysis of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on wet surfaces and the reaction of nitric oxide (NO) with nitric acid on wet surfaces. The first reaction plays a pivotal role in the initiation of smog formation by producing nitrous acid, which is the major source of ozone-forming hydroxyl radicals at dawn. The second reaction reactivates deposited nitric acid back into photochemically active forms. Previously, the formation of nitric acid was believed to be an end product of the oxidation processes of NOx in the atmosphere. This "renoxification" of nitric acid could alter the relative effectiveness of VOC and NOx controls on the photochemical air pollutant levels. The investigators will quantify the kinetics and mechanisms of the heterogeneous NOx reactions described above and incorporate these descriptions into air quality models. The improved models will allow accurate assessments of the impact of heterogeneous NOx chemistry on the formation of photochemical air pollutants and further the development of effective air pollution control strategies.


"Development and Evaluation of Gas-Phase Atmospheric Reaction Mechanisms for Low NOx Conditions," University of California, Riverside, $79,884
  The gas-phase chemical reaction mechanism is a critical component in air quality simulation models. The
SAPRC-99 mechanism recently developed by Dr. William Carter at the University of California at Riverside (UCR), includes state-of-the-science chemistry and has been used in many air quality modeling applications. It was employed to develop the reactivity scales for volatile organic compounds for California's aerosol coatings regulations. However, this mechanism was developed and evaluated for high-NOx conditions typical of urban areas, so it may not be appropriate for low-NOx conditions typical of rural and remote areas. This project is intended to evaluate and adapt the SAPRC-99 mechanism for accuracy in model prediction under low-NOx conditions using existing environmental chamber data. Based on the results of the initial evaluation, selected chamber experiments will be carried out using the new "next-generation" environmental chamber being constructed at UCR for low NOx evaluation. The mechanisms will be modified as appropriate based on the results of this evaluation. The outcome of this effort will improve our understanding of atmospheric chemistry in rural and remote areas, and allow more accurate air quality simulation under low-NOX conditions.


"Source Apportionment of Fine and Ultrafine Particles in California," University of California, Davis,
  Airborne particulate matter (PM) has been implicated in increased mortality. A recent estimate is that approximately 20,000 Californians die prematurely each year due to PM. Reducing fine particulate pollution is one of the most difficult environmental challenges facing California because of the great diversity of sources and chemical species involved. Developing a technically defensible PM control program requires identifying the contribution of each source type to the measured PM concentrations, and then estimating the air quality benefits associated with implementing a suite of emission controls. Source apportionment techniques calculate the contribution that different sources make to airborne particulate matter concentrations. In this project, the investigator will perform source apportionment of fine particles (PM2.5), including ultrafine particles. Particle samples collected during several major ambient field monitoring and source sampling studies will be analyzed for the quantity of unique chemical tracers that can be used in a source apportionment analysis. Apportionment of the particulate matter collected from these studies would effectively reveal the contribution that different sources make to fine and ultrafine particle concentrations. Because fine particles have been implicated in serious health effects, a better understanding of source contributions to fine particle concentrations will enable decision-makers to formulate effective control strategies to protect public health.


"Correlation between Solids Content and Hiding as it Relates to Calculation of VOC Content in Architectural Coatings," California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, $99,932
  Architectural coatings are a significant source of VOC emissions in California. In recent years, water-based coatings have been replacing solvent-based coatings in many application areas. Paint cans must indicate their VOC content, which facilitates consumer comparison of the VOC content of different brands. The U.S. EPA's rules define "regulatory VOC," by which the VOC of coating products is computed on a "less water and exempt compounds basis." However, for coatings with a high percentage of water, the regulatory VOC can be much higher than the actual VOC. The regulatory definition implies that the volume of solids is directly related to the ability of the applied coating to "hide" the underlying substrate. If a particular coating does not "hide" sufficiently, the consumer will repeat the application with additional paint. However, a low-solids water-based coating with a high "regulatory VOC" can provide the same hiding ability as a high-solids solvent-based coating with higher "actual VOC." In that case, a consumer looking for a low VOC paint might buy a can that would emit more VOCs on application. This project will investigate the relationship between hiding the underlying substrate and the type and amount of solids for selected classes of water-based architectural coatings. Based on the results, ARB staff may be able to justify an alternative VOC calculation procedure for labeling paint cans. Ultimately, consumers would have better information to buy paint that will emit less VOCs for a given application.


"Near -Source Exposure to Crystalline Silica in California: Pilot Study," University of California, Davis, $249,970, Contract No. 98-348
  Crystalline silica is currently under consideration as a toxic air contaminant (TAC) due to its potential human carcinogenic (lung cancer) and non-carcinogenic (bronchitis, silicosis) health effects. Quantitative determination of crystalline silica levels in air samples downwind of industrial sources is required to determine the general population's exposure to this potentially toxic air contaminant. A pilot study was carried out at a sand and gravel plant as a representative crystalline silica stationary source. The pilot study's objectives were to identify the best sampling and analytical techniques for quantifying crystalline silica that can distinguish stationary source crystalline silica from background sources of fugitive dust, and to determine the crystalline silica levels as a function of distance downwind of a stationary source in California. The pilot study results indicate that the downwind crystalline silica and particulate matter levels were very consistent at a given sampling location from day-to-day, and were significantly higher than the upwind levels. The pilot study results highlight several sampling and analytical issues that should be considered in future efforts to quantify the crystalline silica levels downwind of large non-point sources such as sand and gravel plants, quarries, and construction sites. The results also clearly indicate that further field sampling near crystalline silica sources is necessary in order to quantify actual emissions from these sources. Thus, before crystalline silica is listed as a TAC by the Board, significant more work needs to be done to understand the potential impacts of crystalline silica sources on human health.


"Whole Ecosystem Measurements of Biogenic Hydrocarbon Emissions," University of California, Berkeley, $150,000, Contract No. 98-328
  Throughout California, dense pine forests dominate the vegetation cover at higher elevations, resulting in substantial biogenic hydrocarbon emissions. The ARB is thus interested in determining the volume and composition of biogenic emission inventories for pine ecosystems. Pine emissions of methyl butenol is equivalent to isoprene emissions from oaks. We have had no data for either pine ecosystems or ambient flux to validate the model for any ecosystem. Therefore, the University of California at Berkeley used a leaf cuvette method to gather needle level emission factors. They also used a relaxed eddy accumulation flux method and a chilled gas chromatography flame ionization detection (GC-FID) to provide validated data at the canopy level. The seasonal variations in these data are presented in this final report. Results indicate that seasonal and plant age may be important to ecosystem emissions and net effects. The larger emission inventories that likely exist imply that the ARB may have to improve ozone and particulate matter simulations.


"Historical-scale Biochemical Markers of Oxidant Injury and Exposure in Pine", University of California, Davis, $145,075, Contract No. 97-309
  Ambient ozone is a contributing factor to the decline of ponderosa pine trees throughout California. Studies to date have identified alterations in needle biochemistry and physiology responses, but no reliable measures have been identified for wood. This would help determine if trees in a given forest are adversely affected by ambient ozone. The objective of this project was to conduct biochemical analyses on increment cores from pine trees in California that have been exposed to different concentrations of ambient ozone. Investigators usually evaluate injury to foliage, which is the primary site of ozone uptake, in order to assess short-term ozone effects on trees. However,
ozone-damaged pine needles are commonly lost after three or more years of exposure and cannot be evaluated to assess long-term ozone impacts. We could better understand the mechanism of ozone-caused injury to pines over multi-decade timeframes if reliable biochemical markers in tree-wood could be identified. In the first phase of the study, the contractor examined tree cores from seven sites in the San Bernardino National Forest. Analyses
of 50-biochemical markers were conducted using pyrolysis gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to evaluate core samples of wood representing pre- and post-1945 growth periods. In the second phase of the project, tree cores from seven sites in the Sierra Nevada were examined. Biochemical analyses of wood from trees along
a north-to-south, increasing gradient of ozone exposure were consistent with ozone-damaged and undamaged pines in the San Bernardino National Forest. The results of this study suggest that selected biochemical markers in wood qualitatively corroborate visual analyses of foliar injury in native pines. Further work is needed to refine current protocols and to assure the specificity of observed responses to ambient ozone.

Research Screening Committee