Large Eddy Simulations of PM Dispersion to Quantify the Effects of Windbreaks on Air Quality Around CAFOs

Large Eddy Simulations of PM Dispersion to Quantify the Effects of Windbreaks on Air Quality Around CAFOs (Drs. Bohrer, Zhao, Wyslouzil, and Eichinger-ISU)

Animal production is a recognized source of gaseous and particulate emissions that can negatively impact both human health and the environment. This USDA AFRI research project is to develop a LES model to predict PM emission dispersion and interaction with shelterbelts. In addition, the study will also evaluate the USEPA regulatory model AERMOD for its application in predicting agricultural air emission dispersion.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are an integral part of the United States agricultural sector and play a vital role in food production. They are also recognized, at both the local and national scales, as sources of gaseous and particulate emissions that can negatively impact both human health and the environment. The nature of CAFO systems is such that emissions cannot be entirely avoided, but their impacts can be reduced through proper farm siting and mitigation management to safeguard public health and the environment as well as balance the profitability and viability of the industry. However, there is a lack of tools to guide farm siting and mitigation management.   

With the support of this USDA AFRI research grant project, we are developing a comprehensive modeling system for simulation of particulate emission and dispersion from CAFOs.  This modeling system simultaneously considers the effects of the regional and local meteorological conditions and its interactions with topography, vegetation, and buildings at and around the emissions sources. In addition, the study will also evaluate the USEPA regulatory model AERMOD for its application in predicting agricultural air emission dispersion. Two field validate measurement had been conducted.  Modeling processes are on-going.  

The research will provide a new modeling tool for optimizing the design and siting of AFOs and their landscape.  The new tool will enable AFOs producers and their professional consultants to proactively manage air emissions and minimize the AFO operation’s impacts on surrounding neighborhoods and the environment.  It will also supplement the USEPA regulatory model AERMOD with its ability to model effects of shelterbelt on PM air emission dispersion. This study will provide an evaluation of the USEPA regulatory model AERMOD for its application in predicting agricultural air emission dispersion.