Regional air quality impacts of increased natural gas production and use in texas

Adam P. Pacsi, Nawaf S. Alhajeri, Daniel Zavala-Araiza, Mort D. Webster, David T. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Natural gas use in electricity generation in Texas was estimated, for gas prices ranging from 1.89 to 7.74 per MMBTU, using an optimal power flow model. Hourly estimates of electricity generation, for individual electricity generation units, from the model were used to estimate spatially resolved hourly emissions from electricity generation. Emissions from natural gas production activities in the Barnett Shale region were also estimated, with emissions scaled up or down to match demand in electricity generation as natural gas prices changed. As natural gas use increased, emissions decreased from electricity generation and increased from natural gas production. Overall, NOx and SO2 emissions decreased, while VOC emissions increased as natural gas use increased. To assess the effects of these changes in emissions on ozone and particulate matter concentrations, spatially and temporally resolved emissions were used in a month-long photochemical modeling episode. Over the month-long photochemical modeling episode, decreases in natural gas prices typical of those experienced from 2006 to 2012 led to net regional decreases in ozone (0.2-0.7 ppb) and fine particulate matter (PM) (0.1-0.7 μg/m3). Changes in PM were predominantly due to changes in regional PM sulfate formation. Changes in regional PM and ozone formation are primarily due to decreases in emissions from electricity generation. Increases in emissions from increased natural gas production were offset by decreasing emissions from electricity generation for all the scenarios considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3521-3527
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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