Description: We have implemented a suite of chemical transport and fate models that provide diagnostic information about the behavior of ethanol (denoted EtOH) and other fuel-related chemicals released to the environment. Our principal focus is on the impacts to water resources, as this has been one of the key issues facing the introduction of new fuels and additives. We present analyses comparing the transport and fate of EtOH, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), and 2,2,4 trimethyl pentane (TMP) for the following cases (1) discharges to stratified lakes, subsurface release in a surficial soil, (3) cross-media transfer from air to ground water, and (4) fate in a regional landscape. These compounds have significantly different properties that directly influence their behavior in the environment. EtOH, for example, has a low Henry's law constant, which means that it preferentially partitions to the water phase instead of air. An advantageous characteristic of EtOH is its rapid biodegradation rate in water; unlike MTBE or TMP, which degrade slowly. As a consequence, EtOH does not pose a significant risk to water resources. Preliminary health-protective limits for EtOH in drinking water suggest that routine releases to the environment will not result in levels that threaten human health.
Date: February 4, 2002
Creator: Layton, D.W. & Rice, D.W.
Item Type: Refine your search to only Article
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department