ENHANCING QUALITY, UTILITY, SUSTAINABILITY, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF COTTON AND ITS BYPRODUCTS THROUGH IMPROVEMENT IN HARVEST/GIN PROCESSING
Location: Cotton Ginning Research
Title: Characterization of cotton gin particulate matter emissions – project plan
Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 21, 2012
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Citation: 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.
Interpretive Summary: In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented a more stringent air quality standard for very fine dust. All cotton gins will eventually be impacted by this standard. The primary issue affecting the cotton industry across the country is that cotton gins may not be regulated fairly, because very little scientifically sound information is available on cotton gin emissions of this very fine dust. Recent research indicates that EPA sampling methods could be over-estimating cotton gin emissions, and studies have shown that EPA recommended dispersion models used by the states to permit gins could be over-predicting cotton gin boundary line concentrations. In response to these issues, a four-year industry-supported study to evaluate cotton gin dust emissions at several gins at locations across the cotton belt was planned and implemented by the three USDA-ARS Cotton Ginning Laboratories. Successful completion of this project will result in better estimates for dust emissions from cotton gins thus, fairer regulation of the U.S. cotton ginning industry; allowing many gins to avoid installing additional dust control measures with substantially higher capital and operating costs that will impact the ginning cost to the farmer.
In 2006, EPA implemented a more stringent standard for particulate matter with an effective diameter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5). The implementation timeline for this standard will vary by state/district regulatory agency. For example, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, has proposed to include cotton gins in their PM2.5 State Implementation Plan under the assumption that the PM2.5 emissions from cotton gins are significant enough to warrant further study, and possibly even additional control measures above and beyond the current mandate to install enhanced “1D-3D” cyclones on all emission points. All cotton gins across the cotton belt will eventually be impacted by this standard. The primary issues surrounding particulate matter regulations for cotton ginning industry are: 1) limited or lack of PM2.5 data; 2) potential over-prediction of current dispersion models; and 3) effects of sampler errors. The cotton ginners’ associations across the cotton belt, including the National, Texas, Southern, Southeastern, and California associations, have agreed that there is an urgent need to collect gin emission data to address these issues. In response to the gin association’s requests the project outlined in this paper was developed.