Geiger cautioned that their results are valid only for the subtropical city of So Paulo, but the researchers' interdisciplinary approach can be used to examine more complicated city situations. Their study shows how pollution control requires a team that bridges atmospheric science and engineering, economics and statistics.
"This work allows us to start thinking about the urban metabolism of Chicago, which is an emerging megacity surrounded by 'corn country,'" Geiger said. "Ethanol from corn is a particularly intriguing option for future, possibly more competitive, energy markets. It's an area we need to watch."
"It is a credit to the interdisciplinary process that Franz now is talking like an economist," Salvo said with a grin.
A grant for high-risk research from the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) got Salvo started with his work, but it was when Mark Ratner, ISEN co-director and a chemist, introduced Salvo to Geiger that the study was really underway. The unusual study needed both a social scientist and a chemist to be successful.
"Without ISEN, this work would never have happened -- no way," Geiger said.
Geiger and Salvo plan to collaborate with Aaron Packman, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, on studying urban metabolites in Chicago. Specifically, the group plans to use Cook County's air monitoring network, traffic data and meteorological data to learn how the concentration of air pollutants in the city may change under future -- and most likely more congested -- traffic scenarios.
|Contact: Megan Fellman|