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Development of Fine-Particulate Emission Factors and Speciation Profiles for Oil and Gas-Fired Combustion Systems
Project Number

The objective of this work was to develop and test new techniques and methodologies for characterizing emissions from stationary combustion sources fired by oil and gas. These technologies and methodologies will provide information to assess the source contributions of combustion sources with respect to ambient fine (smaller than 2.5 microns) and ultrafine (smaller than 0.1 microns) particulate matter.

This project was selected in response to DOE's Oil Exploration and Production solicitation DE-PS26-00NT41048, focus area Oil and Gas-Effective Environmental Protection. The goal of this section of the solicitation was to promote cost-effective environmental protection and enhance environmental performance to encourage maximum recovery of U.S. petroleum resources.


GE Energy & Environmental Research Corp. (GE EER)
Irvine, CA


In July 1997, EPA proposed new fine particle ambient air quality standards for fine particles. Since then an ambient-air monitoring network has been established to measure PM2.5. New methods are needed to develop combustion-source emission factors and chemical speciation profiles for primary particulate matter and secondary particle precursors. A standard method for PM2.5 characterization will help formulate State Implementation Plans by assisting in the development of emission inventories, characterization of impacts, and assessment of appropriate control technologies. This research area has been identified as a priority by NARSTO (formerly North
American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone) in its PM Science Plan

Project Results
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) standard technique for measuring particulate matter is known to overestimate particulates. This can have a significant impact on oil, gas, and coal-fired energy sources. This project developed a new sampling system and analysis and measurement technologies for determining potentially significant sources of emissions subject to the new federal PM2.5 Fine Particulate air quality regulations, providing sound, science-based data for realistic compliance standards.

The objective of this work was to develop a more accurate way of measuring particulate matter of <2.5 microns (PM2.5) from oil and gas-fired combustion systems. In addition to developing a smaller-scale apparatus, the researchers also generated emission-factor information that had never been available before. The information generated in this project ultimately will be used to develop compliance standards that protect the environment while minimizing the compliance burdens of industry.

Project Summary
The testing plan provided detailed source-characterization information, including ultrafine-particle emissions, size fractionation, transition and other metals, metal species, speciated semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds, organic and elemental carbon, nitrates, and sulfates. In addition to fine/ultrafine particulate sampling, the test protocol included measurements of NOx, CO, CO2, SO2, SO3, total hydrocarbons, NH3, and speciated volatile organic compounds. Combustion sources tested included natural gas-fired combustion turbines (single and combined-cycle), reciprocating engines, process heaters, gas- and heavy oil-fired boilers representative of equipment utilized in power generation and industrial applications, and dual fuel-fired (natural gas/oil) commercial or industrial-scale combustion systems.

Two source-characterization test methods were assessed: a dilution tunnel/long-residence time chamber with selective 2.5 micron sample inlets that use a size-selective in-stack inlet followed by dilution but minimal residence time before sample collection trains. Both systems can apply similar arrays of sample collection techniques, such as filters and denuders to characterize particle mass, size, chemical composition, physical characteristics, and gaseous pollutants.

A series of tests using a pilot-scale combustor at GE EER's facilities in Irvine, CA, will seek to define dilution tunnel design/operating parameters to accurately measure PM2.5 emissions for a wide range of source types, resulting in an improved measurement system design and methodology.

Current Status

(October 2005)
The project is complete.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution

$300,000 (26% of total)

Contact Information

NETL - Kathleen Stirling ( or 918-699-2005)
E&E Research - Glenn England ( or 949-859-8851)

Additional Information

Numerous topic reports are available from GE EER on research carried out during the project.