UH research center gets boost from $3.5 million EPA grant

November 13, 2001

TLC2 receives additional funds to expand environmental programs

HOUSTON, Nov. 13, 2001 - A $3.5 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to the University of Houston will further environmental research initiatives at the Texas Learning and Computation Center, or TLC2. The grant, awarded this month, is an addition to the more than $2 million UH received last fall from the EPA to develop a new computer model, called the "Houston-Galveston Model," to more accurately predict ozone concentrations in the region's air. The air quality modeling work is one of several research and educational projects supported by the Texas Learning and Computation Center, located at the University of Houston. The TLC2, which is dedicated to designing and delivering advanced research and learning techniques, was established in September 1999 with continuing funding from the Texas Legislature. In addition to state funds, federal government agencies also support individual projects and the center's infrastructure.

The center includes a fully-integrated telecommunications infrastructure allowing community colleges and schools to share educational resources; computer facilities; and a research and development complex where applications for industry, education and research are created.

"This new and important funding from the EPA for this project was made possible by the efforts of Congressman Tom DeLay, who has been a strong proponent of TLC2 since its inception in 1999," said Art Vailas, vice president for research at the University of Houston.

The new grant will integrate key efforts in weather, point-source data collection and the development of new mathematical algorithms that characterize the composition of air elements within the gulf coast region. The goal is to have results available within the next 18 months in order to establish sound science input, and potentially contribute new ideas, before the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) calls for public comment in 2003 on a mid-course correction of the Houston State Implementation Plan (SIP). The SIP describes the regulations and actions designed to bring the area into compliance with federal air quality guidelines on ozone concentration by 2007. UH researchers, in collaboration with state and federal agencies and other Texas institutions, will examine many factors that must be input into the Houston-Galveston Model, including: how projected population growth will impact automobile usage; developing a better inventory of the emissions and chemicals present in the air; improving the mathematical equations used to describe the movement of air and pollutants in the atmosphere; and incorporating updated weather data and modeling techniques.

Once the Houston-Galveston model is fully developed, it will be used to predict how reductions in various ozone precursors affect the amount of ozone produced. The results will feed into a debate on the public policy of how to most cost-effectively modify the SIP's regulations for the mid-course correction.
About the University of Houston

The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 32,000 students.

For more information about UH visit the university's 'Newsroom' at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom

University of Houston

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