Renee McVay

Scientist, U.S. Methane


Areas of expertise:

Oil and gas methane emissions, air quality


Renee is a U.S. methane scientist on the Oil and Gas team at EDF. She uses emission inventories to develop state and region-specific emission profiles from the oil and gas sector. She provides analytics and technical support to various state and federal policy campaigns.


Renee earned her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering focusing on atmospheric chemistry and the formation of atmospheric aerosols (tiny particles that make up smog). She developed detailed chemistry and physics models in order to simulate aerosol formation. She worked closely with experimental scientists to compare the predictions of the models with experimental results in order to further refine the models. After her Ph.D., Renee completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder working with the regional air quality model WRF-Chem. She developed and analyzed various physical and chemical mechanisms within WRF-Chem to improve performance and predictions of the model.


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 2016
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 2014
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 2011


Buonocore, J. J., Reka, S., Yang, D., Chang, C., Roy, A., Thompson, T., Lyon, D., McVay, R., Michanowicz, D., and Arunachalam, S.: Air pollution and health impacts of oil & gas production in the United States, Environ. Res.: Health, 1, 021006, 2023, doi: 10.1088/2752-5309/acc886

Boutot, J., Peltz, A. S., McVay, R., and Kang, M.: Documented Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells Across the United States, Environ. Sci. Technol., 56, 14228-14236, 2022, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c03268

Robertson, A. M., Edie, R., Field, R., Lyon, D., McVay, R., Omara, M., Zavala-Araiza, D., and Murphy, S.: New Mexico Permian Basin Measured Well Pad Methane Emissions Are a Factor of 5-9 Times Higher Than U.S. EPA Estimates, Environ. Sci. Technol., 54, 13926-13934, 2020, doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c02927

McVay, Renee and Barbara Ervens. A microphysical parameterization of aqSOA and sulfate formation in clouds. Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 7500–7509, 2017, doi:10.1002/2017GL074233.

Nah, T., McVay, R. C., Pierce, J. R., Seinfeld, J. H., and Ng, N. L.: Constraining uncertainties in particle-wall deposition correction during SOA formation in chamber experiments, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 2297-2310, 2017, doi:10.5194/acp-17-2297-2017.

Nah, T., McVay, R. C., Zhang, X., Boyd, C. M., Seinfeld, J. H., and Ng, N. L.: Influence of seed aerosol surface area and oxidation rate on vapor wall deposition and SOA mass yields: a case study with α-pinene ozonolysis, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 9361-9379, 2016, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-9361-2016.

McVay, Renee C., Xuan Zhang, Bernard Aumont, Richard Valorso, Marie Camredon, Yuyi S. La, Paul Wennberg and John H. Seinfeld. SOA formation from the photooxidation of α-pinene: Systematic exploration of the simulation of chamber data. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 2785-2802, 2016, doi:10.5194/acp-16-2785-2016.

Zhang, Xuan, Renee C. McVay, Dan D. Huang, Nathan F. Dalleska, Bernard Aumont, Richard E. Flagan, and John H. Seinfeld. Formation and evolution of molecular products in α-pinene secondary organic aerosol. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 112, 14168-14173, 2015, doi:10.1073/pnas.1517742112.

McVay, Renee, Christopher Cappa, and John Seinfeld. Vapor Wall Deposition in Chambers: Theoretical Considerations. Environ. Sci. and Technol., 48, 10251-10258, 2014, doi: 10.1021/es502170j.

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