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Ke Du

Faculty Listing

Mechanical and Manufacturing

Ke Du


Assistant Professor

(403) 220-7883
() (403) 282-8406

ME 409

Research Activities: 

Air pollution and monitoring

Dr. Du’s research has been focused on developing innovative technologies to address the most challenging issues in the field of urban air pollution as well as answering some of the most interesting questions on the impact of urbanization on global and regional atmospheric environment. His primary research interests include optical remote sensing of air pollutants, source apportionment of carbonaceous aerosols, measurement of aerosol and black carbon (BC) emissions and modeling of their radiative forcing effects. Below is a summary of research activities along the directions of air pollution process and air monitoring techniques

  1. Air pollution process

    In this direction, Dr. Du’s research is focused on black carbon, haze, visibility, and other air quality indices addressing the issues on how rapid urbanization poses negative impact on the natural environment, and what may be cost-effective mitigation strategies from the perspective of policy-makers. For carbonaceous aerosol studies, he investigated the sources of black carbon in East Asia, studied the emission and transport of carbonaceous aerosols and the light absorbing properties of black carbon aerosols. The approaches that were taken incorporated both field measurement and mathematical modeling of the ambient and source aerosols. Such work not only builds up our knowledge in understanding the characteristics of air pollution, but serves to advise the regulatory authorities for solving challenges associated with the pollutants. For regional haze and visibility, he studied the long-term variation of visibility in Southeast China, analyzed the impact of several environmental policies on regional haze, and determined the efficacy of different policies in mitigating air pollution problems, and investigated the impact of meteorological factors on atmospheric visibility at a coastal urban site.

  2. Air monitoring techniques

    Dr. Du has devoted years in developing innovative optical and/or remote sensing technologies to measure air pollutants or air pollution indices. This include: I) quantify the opacity of airborne particulate matters (PM) over elevated spatial and temporal scales. Opacity is an important optical property that is used by the environmental authorities to determine compliance for visible emissions from industrial sources. He invented a digital photography based method (DOM) to quantify the opacity of PM plumes from industrial point sources, which was awarded a US patent in 2008. The Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS) of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimated that the digital camera based technology could save 200 million US dollars annually if implemented country-wide in the US; II) Apply innovative LIDAR technologies for development of methodologies to quantify PM emissions from fugitive sources, which are more important and more difficult-to-quantify. This method provides a novel approach to quantify the emissions of fugitive dust by developing an algorithm that integrates the measurements from LIDAR, Laser Transmissometers, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometers to determine the mass fluxes of dust. This work was appraised ( by SERDP (Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program) under the US DoD (Department of Defense) and received “Research, Development, or Operational Support Team Award” from U.S. Army in 2008; III) Develop cost-effective methods for monitoring black carbon aerosol; and IV) Develop digital photographic method to quantify atmospheric visibility.

  • Chen, B., Andersson, A., Lee, M., Kirillova, E. N., Xiao, Q., Kruså, M., Shi, M., Lu, Z., Streets, D. G., Du, K.*, and Gustafsson, Ö.* (2013) Source Forensics of Black Carbon Aerosols from China. Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 47, No. 16, 9102-9108.
  • Du, K.*, Shi, P., Rood, M. J., Wang, K., Wang, Y., and Varma, R. (2013) Digital Optical Method to Quantify the Visual Opacity of Fugitive Plumes, Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 77, 983-989.
  • Wang, Y., Liu, S., Shi, P., Li, Y., Mu, C., and Du, K.* (2013) Temporal Variation of Mass Absorption Efficiency of Black Carbon at Urban and Suburban Locations, Aerosol and Air Quality Research, Vol. 13, No. 1, 275-286.
  • Deng, J., Du, K.*, Wang, K., and Yuan, C-S* (2012) Long-term Atmospheric Visibility Trend in Southeast China, 1973-2010, Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 59, 11-21.
  • Chen, B., Du, K.*, Wang, Y., Chen, J. *, Zhao, J., Wang, K., Zhang, F., and Xu, L. (2012) Emission and transport of carbonaceous aerosols in urbanized coastal areas in China, Aerosol and Air Quality Research, Vol. 12, No. 3, 371-378.
  • Du, K.*, Wang, Y., Chen, B., Wang, K., Chen, J. *, and Zhang, F. (2011) Digital Photographic Method to Quantify Black Carbon in Ambient Aerosols, Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 45, No. 39, 7113-7120.
  • Du, K.*, Rood, M. J., Welton, E. J., Varma, R., Hashmonay, R. A., Kim, B. J., and Kemme, M. R. (2011) Optical Remote Sensing to Quantify Fugitive Particulate Mass Emissions from Stationary Short-Term and Mobile Continuous Sources: Part I. Methodology and Examples, Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 45, No. 2, 658-665.
  • Du, K.*, Yuen, W., Wang, W., Rood, M. J., Varma, R., Hashmonay, R. A., Kim, B. J., and Kemme, M. R. (2011) Optical Remote Sensing to Quantify Fugitive Particulate Mass Emissions from Stationary Short-Term and Mobile Continuous Sources: Part II. Field Applications, Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 45, No. 2, 666-672.
  • Du, K., Rood, M. J., Kim, B. J., Kemme, M. R., Franek, B., and Mattison, K. (2009) Evaluation of Digital Optical Method to Determine Plume Opacity during Nighttime, Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 43, No. 3, 783-789.
  • Du, K., Rood, M. J., Kim, B. J., Kemme, M. R., Franek, B., and Mattison, K. (2007) Quantification of Plume Opacity by Digital Photography, Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 41, No. 3, 928-935.

B.Eng., Environmental Engineering, Tsinghua University, 1998
M.Sc., Atmospheric Physics and Atmospheric Environment, Peking University, 2001
Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007