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NOx Emissions

What are NOx Emissions?

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) represents a family of seven compounds, one of which nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is regulated by the EPA as a proxy for all the NOx compounds. Nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are the most significant forms of NOx released by combustion processes, including diesel engines. NOx reacts with carbon monoxide (CO) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in sunlight to form tropospheric or ground-level ozone, the major component of smog, which is a significant air pollution problem in the United States.

Ozone is linked to health effects including asthma, respiratory system irritation, allergen sensitivity, respiratory infections and premature death. Particulate matter emissions, especially fine particulates that can more deeply penetrate lungs, from diesel emissions and other sources is also linked to serious health risks and has a causal relationship with cardiovascular effects, respiratory effects, and mortality. Peer-reviewed research estimates that over the sales period of the 2.0 liter vehicles installed with defeat devices, 59 deaths will be caused in the United States by the excess emissions from the vehicles. In addition to health risks, NOx poses other significant environmental risks contributing to acid precipitation that can damage forests, crops, and waterways, and the deposition of excess nutrients to lakes, ponds, and coastal waters that contributes to algal blooms, damage to fish and shellfish, and other impacts of eutrophication of lakes, ponds, and coastal waterways. Mobile sources (including diesel and gasoline vehicles) are currently the largest source of NOx emissions. Reducing the use of petroleum-based fuels in transportation (particularly in heavy duty vehicles which disproportionately contribute to emissions) is an important mechanism to reduce NOx emissions.

Emission Calculation Tools

Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emission, and Energy use in Transportation Model (GREET)

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Argonne has developed a full life-cycle model called GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation). It allows researchers and analysts to evaluate various vehicle and fuel combinations on a full fuel-cycle/vehicle-cycle basis.

Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental & Economic Transportation Tool (AFLEET)

The Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program enlisted the expertise of Argonne to develop a tool to examine both the environmental and economic costs and benefits of alternative fuel and advanced vehicles. This tool for Clean can estimate petroleum use, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant emissions, and cost of ownership of light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles using simple spreadsheet inputs.

MOtor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES)

EPA's MOtor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) is a state-of-the-science emission modeling system that estimates emissions for mobile sources at the national, county, and project level for criteria air pollutants, greenhouse gases, and air toxics.

Diesel Emissions Quantifier (DEQ)

Provides an interactive, web-based tool for users with little or no modeling experience, and evaluates clean diesel projects and upgrade options for medium-heavy and heavy-heavy duty diesel engines. Estimates baseline emissions, reduced emissions, cost effectiveness for NOx, PM2.5, HC, CO and CO2, and PM-related health benefits. However, this tool may not be used for State Implementation Plans (SIPs) and conformity.

Shore Power Emissions Calculator (SPEC)

The Shore Power Emissions Calculator (SPEC) can be effective for estimating environmental benefits of shore power when a vessel is connected. Port authorities can use SPEC to assess the environmental benefits of using shore power by vessel type in an area where shore power is being considered.

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