The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday awarded Carnegie Mellon University one of six research grants to develop and use low-cost air pollution sensor technology, while engaging communities to learn about their local air quality.
“Earlier this year I participated in an educational roundtable discussion at the university with faculty and students that explored climate change and regional air quality issues,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “EPA is proud to support Carnegie Mellon in conducting this important air monitoring research and correlate its impact on public health in Pittsburgh neighborhoods.”
The $750,000 grant for Carnegie Mellon University supports research into the accuracy of air pollution sensors and the usefulness of the sensor data. Air quality modeling will be combined with sensor data to develop maps and other tools for displaying air quality information.
Researchers will collaborate with local community groups in Pittsburgh to help them understand the data and how the findings might be used to reduce exposure to air pollutants.
While recent advances in technology have led to the development of low-cost air pollution sensors, they have not been widely tested, especially under field conditions. These grants will help fund research projects that explore how scientific data can be effectively gathered and used by communities to learn about local air quality.
The grantees will also study the accuracy of data produced by sensors and sensor networks. For example, comparing high-quality data from existing monitoring technology that are used to support air quality regulations.The grants, which are funded through the EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program.