Emissions lifetimes and ozone formation in power plant plumes


  • T. B. Ryerson,

  • M. P. Buhr,

  • G. J. Frost,

  • P. D. Goldan,

  • J. S. Holloway,

  • G. Hübler,

  • B. T. Jobson,

  • W. C. Kuster,

  • S. A. McKeen,

  • D. D. Parrish,

  • J. M. Roberts,

  • D. T. Sueper,

  • M. Trainer,

  • J. Williams,

  • F. C. Fehsenfeld


The concept of ozone production efficiency (OPE) per unit NOx is based on photochemical models and provides a tool with which to assess potential regional tropospheric ozone control strategies involving NOx emissions reductions. An aircraft study provided data from which power plant emissions removal rates and measurement-based estimates of OPE are estimated. This study was performed as part of the Southern Oxidants Study-1995 Nashville intensive and focuses on the evolution of NOx, SO2, and ozone concentrations in power plant plumes during transport. Two approaches are examined. A mass balance approach accounts for mixing effects within the boundary layer and is used to calculate effective boundary layer removal rates for NOx and SO2 and to estimate net OPE. Net OPE is more directly comparable to photochemical model results than previous measurement-based estimates. Derived net production efficiencies from mass balance range from 1 to 3 molecules of ozone produced per molecule of NOx emitted. A concentration ratio approach provides an estimate of removal rates of primary emissions relative to a tracer species. This approach can be combined with emissions ratio information to provide upper limit estimates of OPE that range from 2 to 7. Both approaches illustrate the dependence of ozone production on NOx source strength in these large point source plumes. The dependence of total ozone production, ozone production efficiency, and the rate of ozone production on NOx source strength is examined. These results are interpreted in light of potential ozone control strategies for the region.