PM2.5 chemical source profiles for vehicle exhaust, vegetative burning, geological material, and coal burning in Northwestern Colorado during 1995

Chemosphere. 2001 Jun;43(8):1141-51. doi: 10.1016/s0045-6535(00)00171-5.


PM2.5 (particles with aerodynamic diameters less than 2.5 microm) chemical source profiles applicable to speciated emissions inventories and receptor model source apportionment are reported for geological material, motor vehicle exhaust, residential coal (RCC) and wood combustion (RWC), forest fires, geothermal hot springs; and coal-fired power generation units from northwestern Colorado during 1995. Fuels and combustion conditions are similar to those of other communities of the inland western US. Coal-fired power station profiles differed substantially between different units using similar coals, with the major difference being lack of selenium in emissions from the only unit that was equipped with a dry limestone sulfur dioxide (SO2) scrubber. SO2 abundances relative to fine particle mass emissions in power plant emissions were seven to nine times higher than hydrogen sulfide (H2S) abundances from geothermal springs, and one to two orders of magnitude higher than SO2 abundances in RCC emissions, implying that the SO2 abundance is an important marker for primary particle contributions of non-aged coal-fired power station contributions. The sum of organic and elemental carbon ranged from 1% to 10% of fine particle mass in coal-fired power plant emissions, from 5% to 10% in geological material, >50% in forest fire emissions, >60% in RWC emissions, and >95% in RCC and vehicle exhaust emissions. Water-soluble potassium (K+) was most abundant in vegetative burning profiles. K+/K ratios ranged from 0.1 in geological material profiles to 0.9 in vegetative burning emissions, confirming previous observations that soluble potassium is a good marker for vegetative burning.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Coal*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Fires
  • Incineration
  • Particle Size
  • Plants
  • Power Plants
  • Solubility
  • Sulfur Dioxide / analysis*
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Coal
  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Sulfur Dioxide