DETROIT A team of Wayne State University researchers are working on a technology that could quickly and significantly reduce the emission of mercury and other toxic substances by power plants into the Great Lakes basin.
Carol Miller, Ph.D., P.E., professor of civil and environmental engineering at Wayne State University's College of Engineering, and co-Director of the Urban Watershed Environmental Research Group (UWERG) at WSU, recently received a two-year, $557,000 grant from the Great Lakes Protection Fund for the project, titled "Real-Time Energy Impact Monitors for Residential, Industrial and Policy Use."
Her team will refine, test and market a novel technology that interacts with power grids to precisely estimate the emissions associated with current power uses and signals when cleaner forms of energy are available. That technology, Locational Emissions Estimation Methodology (LEEM), was pioneered in a project previously supported by the fund.
LEEM gleans information from independent system operators, which operate regional power grids, to determine in real time the fuel sources (such as coal, natural gas, nuclear power and wind) used to generate electricity and the emissions from those sources, and then provides users the ability to reduce emissions by changing the timing of their electricity use.
"No matter where you are or what time of day, this technology will be able to tell you the marginal emissions associated with electricity use for car battery recharging, dishwasher use, clothes dryer cycling and other common activities," Miller said. "That's important for consumers to know, because energy use and damaging emissions are not directly related. Without the information regarding real-time emissions, you might make decisions to reduce energy use at certain times in hopes of reducing polluting emissions, while actually shifting your use to a time where the emissions are more detrimental to the environment."
|Contact: Julie O'Connor|
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research