Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Science Matters

Science Matters Header

Clean Air Technology Initiative: Improving Air Quality through Technological Innovation

Children getting onto a school bus.

EPA researchers join forces with local and state agencies to promote innovation.

According to School Transportation News, there are some 480,000 school buses in the United States, transporting approximately 26 million students to and from school.

It's no coincidence that the first zero-emission, all electric school bus belongs to the Kings Canyon Unified School District, situated in the San Joaquin Valley of central California and home to some of the nation's poorest air quality.

This school bus was purchased with grants from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, one of EPA's partners in an ambitious initiative launched to promote technological innovation that improves air quality and the economy.

EPA Partnership Takes Flight to Pinpoint Leaks

The Mississippi River is an important thoroughfare for moving petrochemicals, an important economic and commercial activity for the region. But leaky barges can mean the escape of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which reduce air quality for communities along the route. Because VOCs are invisible to the human eye, detecting leaks is tough.

Aerial shot of a barge traveling down the Mississippi.

EPA scientists in the Agency's south-central regional office (Region 6) have partnered with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Exit EPA Disclaimer(LDEQ) to find leaky barges. They have developed a technique to find leaks using "passive gas imaging equipment (PGIE)," a technology that uses infrared cameras to detect hydrocarbon emissions (a type of VOC).

Taking flight in PGIE-carrying helicopters, EPA and LDEQ surveyed parts of the Mississippi river to pinpoint leak locations on barges. These leaks were subsequently repaired, leading to cleaner and healthier air for communities along the Mississippi River.

The Clean Air Technology Initiative is a collaborative partnership uniting the EPA, California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and South Coast Air Quality Management District. Partners work with the private sector, non-profits, and academia to help bring new clean air and energy technologies to the marketplace through testing, demonstration, and deployment.

The Initiative is designed to help make two southern California regions that experience significant pollution challenges —the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley Air Basins—national examples of how local communities can tap innovation to meet health-based national air quality standards while sparking local economic development through the creation of green jobs.

In addition to school bus and other transportation technologies, the Initiative supports a host of other areas, including construction and agriculture equipment, air filtrations systems for schools, commercial "green" cleaners, residential yard equipment, boilers and heaters, natural gas locomotive engines, and more.

Learn More

Clean Air Technology Initiative

EPA Region 9 (Pacific Southwest)

San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Exit EPA Disclaimer

Area Navigation

Jump to main content.