Guelph, ON — Industries, governments and public health organizations now have access to an important, new and proven technological tool that can help better understand the contributing sources of air pollution and resolve urban air quality and pollution problems in a very cost effective and timely manner. Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc., a leading international consulting engineering firm based in Guelph, Ontario, is the only firm in Canada to offer the technology to clients on an ongoing basis.
The Regional Airshed Modelling Framework (i.e. “Models 3/CMAQ” Modelling System: or “Models-3”) technology is a proven state-of-the-art computer hardware and software system that scientists can use to simulate and forecast how atmospheric pollution forms and behaves under various weather conditions. The system acts as a `pollution weather map’.
For example, the formation of pollutants that have negative health effects, such as ozone and fine particulate matter, can be simulated in Models-3 system. Simulations can be made to analyze and predict the formation of ozone and fine particulates under many different weather scenarios. Realistic and cost-effective steps can now be taken to improve upon a region’s air quality. The simulations can show the effect of mitigation measures; such as reducing vehicular traffic, using alternative fuels or decreasing industrial and household emissions and their effect on the formation of ozone and fine particulate matter. Realistic steps can be identified to reduce the destructive nature of ozone.
“The unique Models-3 system takes into account the complex mix of man-made and natural pollutants that comprises the air that we breathe in any region in the world” said Dr. Anton Davies, Ph.D., P.Eng., Principal of Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc. of Guelph, Ontario, and Project Leader for the “Models-3″ project. The costs incurred to date to successfully complete the turnkey proprietary hardware and software system is nearly $500,000 U.S.”
“The system took more than two years for RWDI to develop – with the research assistance of the Institute of Chemical Process and Environmental Technology at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry at York University. The initial work focused on the Southern Ontario airshed. The size of an airshed is defined by the movement of polluted air through a region. In order to study the air pollution in Southern Ontario, one has to include the movement of air contaminants from Ohio, New York, Michigan, and other neighbouring U.S. states.
The project was also supported by efforts from Environment Canada, funding assistance from CRESTech, the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Technology, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, McMaster University and corporate sponsors – Gas Research Institute – Canada and Dofasco.
“We have successfully proven the effectiveness and value of this type of system in the cities of Toronto and Hamilton in Ontario, Vancouver in British Columbia and Hong Kong – and the demand for this critical simulation program is increasing on a world-wide scale” said Davies. “With the new standard governing the formation of ground level ozone and secondary particulate matter, industries will need the “Models-3″ system to assess their contribution, compliance and capital for planning purposes. Governments need the technology for compliance assessment, regulatory enforcement and transboundary pollutant control negotiation purposes. It takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months to begin and complete a customized regional airshed modelling framework program.”
Established in 1972, Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc. is a leading international consulting engineering firm with 200+ employees and acknowledge technical expertise in the area of environmental and industrial air quality program design measurement and control. The staff is comprised of a team of more than thirty environmental engineers, meteorologists and technicians that have been trained extensively in emissions processing, meteorological, photochemical modelling, data management and processing techniques.