Knoxville facility to monitor truck emissions

| 1/8/2003

Two truck-emission-testing stations are partially operating near Knoxville, TN, as part of a project by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee.

The goal: To determine the effects of emissions on the environment by monitoring the estimated 25,000 trucks that pass Knoxville each day.

The Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, funded by DOE, provided money. Tennessee's State Partnership Program also financed acquisition and installation of two meteorological towers. Researchers are seeking additional funding to continue the project and to increase the scope of work.

The fully operational facility at Watt Road and I-40 would create a "world-class field lab devoted to answering a multitude of questions," according to an Oak Ridge press release.

"We'd like to determine, for example, whether the stricter emission regulations for trucks are achieving actual benefits to the environment," said Ralph McGill, who heads the project and is a researcher in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Engineering Science and Technology Division.

"In the immediate future, though, we're hoping to learn more about truck emissions during different operating conditions, all remotely so we won't interfere with traffic flow."

Lab location

The field laboratory would extend 2.5 miles eastward along the valley from the Watt Road-Interstate 40 interchange to a weigh station at the top of a ridge. This section of the interstate is a heavily traveled road where three major interstate highways converge on a 20-mile stretch through Knoxville.

The area of the field lab is also home to three large truckstops, a trucking company terminal and other trucking industry-related facilities.

In addition to the two existing meteorological towers, researchers plan to install equipment to measure nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions as trucks pass.