The Center for Air Quality conducts research on the environmental, health, social, and economic aspects of air quality, applying innovative models and measurement techniques to understand the sources, transport, fate, and impact of air contaminants.
We conduct studies on the impact of global, regional, and local emissions and are the first broad-based research center in this region to evaluate air quality. The Center strives to provide comprehensive regional technical and policy support on air-, water-, land-use-, and energy-related issues to support the health and economy of our region and the U.S.
In addition, the Center provides research support for the agri-business industry to understand and evaluate the fate and transport of active ingredients in the environment. The university-industry partnership is providing a platform to address the regulatory requirements and environmental challenges of new agricultural products through intensive research and engineering evaluations.
Our research center has partnered with the Ohio Coal Research Center, whose focus is clean coal technology research, to form the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment at Ohio University. Through this interdisciplinary partnership and cooperative work with industry and state and federal agencies, we hope to provide a technical foundation for improving our region’s air quality.
We also contribute as a member institution to the Consortium for Energy Economics and the Environment (CE3), an intensive program of integrated research into the Ohio River Valley Region’s energy, environmental, and economic issues through collaborative research by a group of research centers and institutes, environmental groups, and academic programs at Ohio University. The consortium supports research that crosses the boundaries of energy production, economic value, and environmental health, providing practical solutions to regional problems through university outreach, faculty research, and student education and engagement.
The following units (with contact persons indicated) are participating consortium members:
- Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE)
- Center for Air Quality, Director Kevin Crist (Engineering) - conducts collaborative air quality research
- Ohio Coal Research Center, Director David J. Bayless (Engineering) - conducts collaborative basic and applied environmental conversion, energy security, air pollution control research, assessment, and reporting
- Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Service (Voinovich Center), Director Mark Weinberg (Political Science) - provides an infrastructure and organizing entity for CE3 activities by housing the staff and by coordinating the Consortium Faculty Learning Group and consortium-sponsored conferences
- Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies (MSES), Geoffrey Dabelko (Environmental and Plant Biology) - coordinates and offer multidisciplinary graduate experiential learning opportunities.
- Department of Economics, Chairman Roy Boyd - map interest groups for energy-related policies, incentives, and practices and will quantify their environmental and business impacts in monetary terms.
In addition to our contributions to technical data supporting air quality improvement, our research center emphasizes education – both at the public and student levels. Doctoral and master’s level students from the colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences are an integral part of our research teams and work closely with the faculty and staff in the Center. The Center also provides an undergraduate research experience. Undergraduate students are employed each quarter to work on specific projects, and the Center's ambient monitoring site is used as a laboratory in atmospheric chemistry classes, providing hands-on experience with state-of-the-art equipment.
In 1999, the Center for Air Quality at Ohio University was formed as a research group that uses new technology to collect air pollution data and make it accessible to researchers and policy makers in the state.
The institute was awarded $1.2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2003 to build a state-of-the-art air pollution monitoring station on a high hill in Athens, centered in the Ohio River Valley region.
In 2010, the Center was awarded grants to develop a comprehensive carbon budget for the state of Ohio as part of an integrated climate change impact analysis.
Through funding by Department of Energy, Ohio EPA, U.S. EPA, and the Great Lakes Commission, the Center for Air Quality has been evaluating the emissions transport and deposition of mercury both regionally and globally through comprehensive monitoring and modeling programs.
In 2005, our research center joined the Ohio Coal Research Center, the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, and other academic programs and environmental and policy experts at Ohio University to form the Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environment. The consortium brings together cross-disciplinary resources to improve public awareness, technical understanding, and student and faculty engagement on environmental policies affecting the Ohio region.