Directory

Albert Presto is an associate research professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and a member of the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS). Presto’s research focuses on pollutant emissions from energy extraction and consumption and the subsequent atmospheric transformations that these emissions undergo. Energy production and consumption is a major source of pollutants and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Gas and oil wells emit methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Cars and trucks operating on gasoline and diesel fuels emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Particulate matter from mobile sources is largely the result of incomplete or inefficient combustion in the form of organic aerosol and carbon soot. In addition to the direct emissions of pollutants, dilute exhaust undergoes oxidation in the atmosphere. This oxidation chemistry can lead to the production of secondary pollutants, such as ozone and secondary particulate matter.

Presto investigates the contributions of primary and secondary pollution with ambient measurements, laboratory experiments, source testing of pollution sources, and atmospheric models. This multi-pronged and multi-disciplinary approach allows for a holistic view of pollutant emissions and transformations in the atmosphere.

In addition to having environmental impacts, these pollutants, particularly ozone and particulate matter, adversely impact human health. Presto collaborates with medical professionals to develop detailed studies of pollutant exposure on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, and to better understand the relationships between pollutant emissions and adverse health effects such as childhood asthma.

Office
2115 Doherty Hall
Phone
412-721-5203
Email
apresto@andrew.cmu.edu
Google Scholar
Albert Presto
Websites
Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS)

Albert Presto: Local Air Quality Monitoring for More Targeted Solutions

Atmospheric Impacts of the Marcellus Shale Boom

Education

2005 Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

2001 BS, Chemical Engineering, Cornell University

Media mentions


UPMC

Presto study on asthma exacerbation featured by UPMC

MechE’s Albert Presto co-authored a study on asthma exacerbation following a fire at the Clairton Coke Works that destroyed therr pollution controls. 

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Presto’s research on air quality featured

MechE’s Albert Presto’s research on air quality and asthma was featured by UPMC and News Wise.

The New York Times

Presto’s research on pollution mentioned

MechE’s Albert Presto and former Ph.D. student Rishabh Shah’s research on pollution inequality was mentioned in The New York Times.

CMU Engineering

Low-cost sensors to fight air pollution

CMU researchers are teaming up with an interdisciplinary, international network to develop new methods and practices for real-time air quality data collection and solutions for air quality issues.

WESA

Presto on reduced pollution

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted by WESA in an article discussing the impact of less traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presto found that less driving led to decreases in carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions, as well as reduced fine particulate matter.

WESA

Presto quoted on pollution

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted in WESA on pollution during the coronavirus pandemic. The original research was done by Presto and MechE Department Head Allen Robinson.

Shared Air Podcast

Jen and Sullivan quoted on coronavirus

ChemE’s Coty Jen and MechE’s Ryan Sullivan appeared on MechE’s Albert Presto’s podcast, Shared Air, on the role of masks in the coronavirus pandemic.

CMU Engineering

COVID and pollution

A team of Carnegie Mellon researchers found that Pittsburgh’s air pollution levels decreased during the stay-at-home order—but the overall impact remains small.

Apple Podcast

Presto introduces new podcast

MechE’s Albert Presto has created a new podcast called Shared Air with MechE Ph.D. student Rose Eilenberg.

York Dispatch

Presto quoted on Pittsburgh air pollution

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted in the York Dispatch on changes in air pollution after the coronavirus shutdown.

90.5 WESA

Presto quoted on Pittsburgh pollution

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted by WESA about pollution since the coronavirus pandemic brought stay-at-home orders to Pittsburgh.

CMU Engineering

Study verifies a missing piece to urban air quality puzzle

CMU researchers get closer to solving a long-standing air quality mystery.