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Keywords:

  • source apportionment;
  • inverse model

Abstract

[1] The Aerodyne Research Inc. mobile laboratory performed real-time in-situ measurements of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and formaldehyde in Texas City, Texas on 7 May 2009 during the Formaldehyde and olefins from Large Industrial Releases experiment of the 2009 Study of Houston Atmospheric Radical Precursors (SHARP) campaign. Our goal was to identify and quantify emission sources within the largest industrial facility in Texas City most likely responsible for measured concentrations of benzene, an important VOC and hazardous air pollutant. The Houston Advanced Research Center inverse air quality model has been used to infer benzene emission rates from all potential source locations that could account for the benzene concentrations measured by the mobile lab in the vicinity of the facility. A Positive Matrix Factorization receptor model was also applied to the concentrations measured by the mobile lab, the results of which strongly supported the source attribution specified by the inverse model. The two independent source apportionment techniques both implicated flare, storage tank, and ultraformer units in the facility as significant contributors to emission plumes of elevated benzene concentrations observed by the mobile lab. The emissions of some of the flare and tank units were found to be greater than reported in emission inventories by about an order of magnitude.