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VOCs’s Cost functions in the Design of Emission Abatement Strategies

Mariam, Yohannes and Barre, Mike (1996): VOCs’s Cost functions in the Design of Emission Abatement Strategies.

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VOCs and NOx are the primary precursors in the formation of ground-level ozone (SMOG). The rate of formation is a function of concentrations, temperature and sunlight strength. Both pollutants as well as the ozone itself can be transported over very long distances. Therefore, it can affect regions that are close or far from the sources of emissions. In fact approximately 50% of the ozone problem found in the Windsor - Quebec corridor can be attributed to US emissions.

Ozone can affect the health and productivity of humans, crops, forests and other ecosystems. It is now recognized that there is no thresh-hold level below which no effects are felt.

Strategies to reduce emission of VOCs involve either cost or emission optimization. Cost optimization requires the availability of abatement cost functions. The current study presents methodologies to derive cost functions for VOCs in Canada. Abatement cost functions are mathematical representations of discrete emission reduction points and their corresponding total annualized cost. The objective for which cost functions are derived determines the procedure employed in deriving cost functions. In this study, cost functions are derived based on cost estimates from engineering models by analyzing plant level data on end of pipe abatement technologies and their related costs.

Emissions of VOCs were gathered by plant, by sector, by region and nationally. Commonly used, VOCs control technologies were identified. Engineering cost models were used to generate total annualized costs and the corresponding emission reduction for individual plants. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software was used to fit different functional forms to the total annualized cost and removal data.

Four kinds of cost functions were derived. These include national, regional, sectoral and plant specific cost functions. The results showed that cost functions derived for the four categories indicated above, can be represented by different types of curves such as exponential, quadratic or even power. These curves could be used to facilitate the design of bilateral or multilateral, national, inter-provincial, or intra-provincial air pollution management strategies. The uses of these cost functions in pollution abatement not only treat countries, regions, sectors or plants equitably but also produce realistic cost data compared to average cost data. Furthermore, these functions could be incorporated into an integrated assessment model so that the resulting emission abatement strategies would cost the industry and/or the public minimum amount.

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