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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Improving Air Quality of Agricultural Operations and Processes

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The long-term objective of this project is enhancement of the knowledge base pertaining to non-combustion source particulate matter generated from agricultural processing facilities, specifically cotton ginning. Our project plan establishes an interactive research program dedicated to characterization and accurate measurement of particulate matter having AED of less than or equal to 10 micrometers. During the next 3 years we will focus on the following objectives: Objective 1: Evaluate particulate matter emissions from cotton gins to enable more effective pollution abatement processes/designs. Objective 2: Quantify errors and/or biases associated with FRM particulate matter emission sampling methodologies when sampling cotton gins.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Six saw-type cotton gins and one roller-type gin will be included in the sampling plan. Testing will include particulate stack and ambient sampling. Stack sampling will be conducted on cyclone exhaust from various process streams in the cotton gin. Ambient sampling will be performed in conjunction with the stack sampling, but the two events are mutually exclusive. Ambient sampling will be for 24-hr periods on sampling stations placed at strategic locations around the cotton gin. Over 60 ambient samplers will be used to surround the cotton gin during the testing. Two advisory groups oversee air quality research conducted under the national cotton gin particulate matter emissions sampling campaign. The Cotton Ginning Advisory Group (CGAG) serves as liaison between the gins and ARS personnel, identifies prospective gins for sampling, and reviews all sampling protocols and results from an industry perspective. The CGAG is composed of representatives from the National Cotton Council, the National Cotton Ginners' Association, the Texas Cotton Ginners' Association, the California Cotton Growers and Ginners' Association, the Southern Cotton Ginners' Association, the Southeastern Cotton Ginners' Association, Cotton Incorporated, and Texas A&M University. Members of the Air Quality Advisory Group (AQAG) serve as scientific and industry reviewers of stack and ambient sampling methodologies, sample handling protocols, laboratory analyses, quality control and assurance protocols, data analyses, and prepared reports. The AQAG is composed of representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the California Air Resources Board, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and Texas A&M University. Involvement and participation of all advisory group members is essential with respect to development of relevant datasets appropriate for use by industry, regulatory agencies, and the scientific community. Details of the experimental plan were cooperatively developed by the CGAG and the AQAG. Prior approval for any deviation from the established experimental plan must be obtained from the CGAG and the AQAG before changes in any facet of the plan are implemented. The long-term, high risk research objectives of our plan will be completed concurrently during this campaign.


3.Progress Report:
Work on this project was performed by ARS researchers from Mesilla Park, New Mexico; Stoneville, Mississippi; and Lubbock, Texas; and Oklahoma State University researchers from Stillwater, Oklahoma. Activities included extensive sampling of the last of seven commercial gins for the project and sample and data analyses. Sampling included stack testing of seven unique process stream exhausts equipped with cyclones using Environmental Protection Agency methods for stack sampling total particulate, particulate less than 10 microns in diameter, and particulate less than 2.5 microns in diameter. The gin was also surrounded by an array of 125 ambient samplers to measure the concentration of particulate around the gin as impacted by the gin emissions. Ambient samplers were operated for a total of 10 days while the exhaust stack sampling was conducted. Approximately 1400 samples were collected during sampling and transported to the ARS Air Quality Laboratory in Lubbock for post-processing. Laboratory photographic, gravimetric, and particle size distribution analyses of all of the more than 10,000 samples collected during the project field work were completed by the ARS Air Quality Lab. All stack sampling data sources for each gin/source/test method were merged, checked, and verified. Data for about 5,000 of the total 8,000 individual ambient sampler runs detailing ambient sampler operation were merged with laboratory data into individual ambient sample reports. Reports for each ginning system/test method combination were planned and outlined, and data tables summarizing stack test results for the reports were compiled. The reports are being generated. The researchers prepared six presentations and proceedings paper detailing the project progress and summarizing preliminary results.


Review Publications
Whitelock, D.P., Armijo, C.B., Boykin Jr, J.C., Buser, M.D., Holt, G.A., Barnes, E.M., Valco, T.D., Findley, D.S., Waston, M.D. 2011. Beltwide cotton quality before and after lint cleaning. Journal of Cotton Science. 15:282-291.

Buser, M.D., Whitelock, D.P., Boykin Jr, J.C., Holt, G.A. 2012. Characterization of cotton gin particulate matter emissions – project plan. Journal of Cotton Science. 16:105-116.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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