Creation of Energy scenario in the future to improve air quality in East and South Asia

Air Pollution from various sources
Phenomenal growth in India has positively impacted the quality of lives, however on the other hand has affected the environmental quality in many ways. Air pollution caused due to emissions from vehicles, industries, power plants, mining activities, bio-mass burning in rural households has serious implications not only on the human health but also on the ecological fronts. With local air pollution becoming a major issue in the Indian cities and industrial zones, CO2 emissions have also been on rise contributing to the global pool of greenhouse gases.

TERI has been working with Toyota Motor Corporation for carrying out collaborative research in the field of air quality management. The previous project was an international collaborative project, supported by Toyota Motor Corporation that focused on the needs to achieve economic growth by meeting the energy needs while ensuring at the same time that environmental issues such as ozone pollution are adequately addressed. In the project, the focus was on the preparation of energy and emission scenarios and conducting simulations for air quality predictions for the study domain including whole India.

The major objectives of the current study are, to refine the emission inventory developed in the previous phase of the project through inclusion of other sources and improving the resolutions for some sectors; to evaluate emission reduction and air quality improvement potential of the strategies in the transport sector; to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of various strategies for reduction in vehicular emissions; to study the role of various pre-cursors (NOx, NMVOCs, CO) in Ozone formation; and to study the impacts of various meteorological parameters in impacting the air quality of a region.

In India some efforts have been made in the direction of controlling air pollution and some achievement can be seen in reduction of SO2 and CO concentrations. However, particulate matter has consistently been a major pollutant of concern for the country. Figure 1.1 shows that in 2009, while SO2 levels were well below the prescribed annual average standard in all the cities, NOx concentrations are violating or at the verge of violation in many cities. RSPM (respirable suspended particulate matter) has been above the standards in the most of the cities is the pollutant of immediate concern for the country.

The National ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) were revised and new emerging pollutants of concern were included in 2009. Ozone (which is a secondary pollutant formed by various precursor compounds like NOx, VOCs etc.) is one of them which has been prescribed with NAAQS of 100 µg/m³ for 8 hr and 180 µg/m³ for 1 hr.

The broad methodology of the project is shown in Figure 1.2. The project started with analysis of existing state of air quality in India, with primary focus on PM, NOx, and O3. A study domain, covering the whole India was finalized. Baseline energy scenario and emissions inventory for various States and UTs was prepared in the last phase. The inventory was refined with inclusion of left out sources, re-allocation of emission at finer scale and inclusion of other pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO). For better calibration of results, a finer scale inventory was prepared for a sub-domain like Delhi. Air quality simulations were carried for the base year 2010, using the refined emissions estimated in previous step and meteorological inputs from the National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Simulated concentrations were calibrated against the actual observation taken from the National Air Monitoring Network (NAMP) of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Baseline simulations have been carried out to understand the role of each pre-cursors (NOx, NMVOC, CO, background CH4) in Ozone formation. Sensitivity analysis of Ozone concentrations with meteorological parameters were carried out to understand their relationships. Strategies have been identified and evaluated specifically for transport sector to understand their emission reduction potential and cost effectiveness. Based on these, future projections will be made for the year 2030 to estimate the energy consumption and emission from various sectors and fuels. Future projections include the Business as Usual scenario and the Alternate scenarios separately for strategies based on reducing energy consumption and emissions. Finally, simulations will be carried out to assess the PM, NOx and O3 concentrations across the Indian domain under different future scenarios. Sensitivity analysis is also being carried out to estimate the share of various sectors towards air quality concentrations.

A major accomplishment of this project has been the overall update of the GAINS ASIA database for the year 2010. Recent data was collected for most of the sectors and emissions were estimated for the new baseline year. The refinement and extension of inventory of NMVOCs for the study domain was a step forward. New sources of NMVOCs have been identified and were attempted to be inventorised. Inventory for CO has also been made first time in the project. Special emphasis was given to the spatial and temporal allocation of emissions. Emissions of many sectors including transport, refining, mining, cement and steel plants, oil and gas exploration were allocated at the finer resolutions.

The analysis of baseline emissions inventory made for India shows that power plants and industries are the major contributors to the overall PM emissions in India, however, transport sector becomes important at the local city levels. Transport sector and DG sets have a major share in the NOx emissions, which have been increasing steadily with the rise of vehicular and auxiliary power generating activities. Biomass burning in the domestic sector is one of the primary contributor to the overall CO and NMVOC emissions in the country.

This project highlights the regional scale air pollution caused by not only the primary pollutants like PM, VOCs , and NOx, but also the secondary pollutants like O3. The study explains the formation of Ozone through precursors like NOx and NMVOCs at different scales. It can be concluded that regionally Ozone is found to be higher than at the local urban scales.

Baseline simulations were carried out to estimate the extent of ozone pollution at different scales. TERI in collaborationi with IIASA has refined NMVOC inventories and corresponding improvements has been made in the simulation results.

In the next phase of the project the team looks forward to working on further improvement of emissions and simulations; sensitivity analysis to understand the roles of different pre-cursors; developing the energy and emission growth scenarios for the year 2030: scenarios based on energy and environment; simulation of air quality for future years under various scenarios; estimation of cost of interventions for different sectors and evaluating cost effectiveness; and development of a plan to control ozone pollution in India.

Sponsor: Toyota Motor Corporation
Duration: 1 year continuing in the next phase
Key Stakeholder / Beneficiaries: Government, civic bodies, automobile manufacturers, oil companies and academia
Status: Ongoing
  • To refine the emission inventory developed in the previous phase of the project through inclusion of other sources and improving the resolutions for some sectors.
  • To evaluate emission reduction and air quality improvement potential of the strategies in different sectors.
  • To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of various strategies for emission reduction.
  • To study the role of various pre-cursors (NOx, NMVOCs, CO) in Ozone formation.
  • To study the impacts of various meteorological parameters on the air quality of a region.
Figure 1.1 Each dot represent a city in the country
Figure 1.2
Posted on: 30 November 2012  |   Project status: Completed