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04-02-2007

Clarkson Researchers Participate in $2.1 Million Environmental Studies

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/carti.jpg]

Clarkson University professors Andrea R. Ferro, Thomas M. Holsen, Philip K. Hopke, Goodarz Ahmadi and Douglas G. Bohl are part of research teams that have been awarded $1million in funding from the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (CoE) for "Collaborative Activities for Research and Technology Innovation Projects." carti

Goodarz Ahmadi is the Interim Dean of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering, Clarkson's Distinguished Professor and the Robert R. Hill Professor. Philip Hopke is the Bayard D. Clarkson Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and director of Clarkson University's Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES). Thomas Holsen is co-director of Clarkson University's Center for the Environment and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Andrea Ferro is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Douglas Bohl is an assistant professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. The research grants are part of CARTI grants totaling $2.1 million awarded to projects supporting the development of technology innovations for improving environmental quality. The grants are made possible through funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) secured by U.S. Congressman James T. Walsh.

The urban air quality project, with Hopke serving as Principal Investigator (PI) and Holsen as Quality Assurance manager, and Co-PIs Professors Myron Mitchell of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Max Zhang of Cornell University, will employ two monitoring towers in Syracuse, New York, that will measure carbon monoxide, ozone and nitrous oxide - polluting gases, as well as carbon dioxide. Hopke's team will also collect PM2.5 (airborne particulate matter 2.5 microns or smaller in size) and analyze the chemical composition, including elements, ions, organic and elemental carbon (OC/EC). Using particle monitors and other measuring tools, the researchers will conduct intensive studies/measurements of particulate sulfate, OC/EC, black carbon (polluting particles released when burning fuel for energy), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), PM2.5 mass, and particle size distributions, as well as pollutant gases.

Although it is well known that indoor air quality (IAQ) is affected by both outdoor and indoor sources, the understanding of the indoor/outdoor interactions and their impact on indoor air environment has been limited by the lack of long-term and real-time monitoring data that captures the dynamics of these interactions. With this in mind, the indoor air quality study team on which Ferro is a Co-PI will study the effect of outdoor air on the quality of indoor air.

Ferro and her fellow researchers will establish a real-life testbed at the Syracuse Center of Excellence (CoE) building on Syracuse University's campus for investigating the dynamic interactions between a built (indoor) environment, its immediate surrounding environment, and the nearby urban environment. The testbed will also provide a means to assess strategies for improving IAQ, including near-outdoor-source reduction, ventilation and cleaning. The testbed will be linked to the urban air monitoring towers being studied by Hopke's group. The two research teams will coordinate their research and share data obtained during the 24-month projects.

The testbed team will collect real-time air temperatures, relative humidities, airflow rates, and other data from the buildings heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, as well as indoor environmental conditions.

A second study to be conducted by Ferro and her co-researchers will evaluate the "Integrated Building Energy and Control Systems (IBECS)" procedure developed by the United Technologies Research Center (UTRC). United Technologies is the parent company of Carrier Air Conditioning. IBECS includes the use of energy and IAQ simulation tools to achieve significant energy and cost benefits while achieving "acceptable" indoor environmental conditions for occupants. The researchers will develop scenarios using the IBECS procedure and implement the selected scenario(s) on the testbed. The data from the testbed will be used to determine the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and energy performance of the building and compare them with that from the IBECS analysis.

Professors Ahmadi and Bohl will be working on a one-year, initial project to understand the airflow and transport characteristics around buildings in urban settings. The goal of their project is to develop a computational model for analyzing airflow and pollutant transport concentration near the new CoE building. Ahmadi and his students will develop the computational tool. The numeric model will be verified using a scale model through a series of wind tunnel tests performed by Bohl and his students. The wind tunnel studies will include flow visualization, pressure measurements and the use of Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements in the aerosol wind tunnel facility at Clarkson University. The experimentally verified computational model will be applied to the study of the full-scale CoE building and will be helpful for planning future environmental studies at the CoE building.

PHOTO CAPTION: Clarkson University professors Philip K. Hopke and Thomas M. Holsen (front row) and Goodarz Ahmadi, Andrea R. Ferro and Douglas G. Bohl (back row) are part of research teams that have been awarded $900,000 in research funds to research indoor and outdoor air quality at the Syracuse Center of Excellence and in the surrounding urban area. The CARTI awards are for "Collaborative Activities for Research and Technology Innovation Projects."

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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