Navigation Links
Study finds emissions from widely used cookstoves vary with use

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The smoke rising from a cookstove fills the air with the tantalizing aroma of dinner and a cloud of pollutants and particles that threaten both health and the environment. How families in developing countries use their cookstoves has a big effect on emissions from those stoves, and laboratory emission tests don't accurately reflect real-world operations, according to a study by University of Illinois researchers.

Biomass-burning cookstoves are used throughout the developing world, using wood, agricultural waste and other organic matter as fuel. They are also a major cause of poor air quality in the regions where use is prevalent. Policymakers and nonprofit organizations are working to develop and distribute "improved" cookstoves, for example, adding insulation or chimneys to reduce emissions. They are especially concerned with fine particles that are emitted, which cause health problems and also affect climate.

Much like automobiles undergo emission testing before hitting the market, cookstoves are tested in the lab before distribution to gauge how effective improvements are at reducing emissions. But if the conditions aren't the same as how people use them at home, then the changes that designers make to the stove may not actually reduce emissions in the field.

"The understanding of how people really use combustion devices is important if we're going to optimize that device," said study leader Tami Bond, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at U. of I. "In the laboratory, where tests are conducted by trained people, there's a lot more attention to operating the stove carefully. At home, people are not as concerned with its operation; they're more concerned with making a meal. So they operate in ways that are non-optimal."

However, these variations in use are masked by the current methods of testing, which use only average values to determine emissions sort of like a snapshot of the stove in operation, not accounting for variation in use. Bond's team developed a real-time analysis technique called Patterns of Real-Time Emissions Data (PaRTED) that allows researchers to compare emissions under different operating conditions and to measure how often a stove operates under certain conditions in the field.

"Wood burning is like a dance," Bond said. "A movie gives you a better understanding than a photograph. This is a way to make movies of how users change as they make fires, and that can help people understand emission rates and make better stoves."

Using PaRTED, Bond's team tested cookstoves in use in a village in Honduras and compared the field results to lab results. The researchers found that operation under less-than-ideal conditions produces the highest emissions. They also found that in the field, stoves are rarely used under optimal conditions, a scenario not reproduced in laboratory tests.

The team compared emission profiles, or the chemical makeup of the smoke, from traditional cookstoves and two types of improved stoves: insulated stoves and stoves with chimneys. They found that although stoves with an insulated combustion chamber could increase overall efficiency, they did not significantly reduce emissions per mass of fuel burned. Chimneys did reduce certain types of particle emissions but chimneys did not cut down on black particles, the type most harmful to climate.

"Our measurements confirm that changes in stove design cause a change in the way they operate," Bond said. "I think people weren't aware that changes in design actually change the profile of the emissions rather than just reducing emissions."

Next, the researchers will use PaRTED analysis to study variations in cookstove use in different regions of the world. Bond hopes that PaRTED and this study will inform future testing protocols for cookstoves in the lab, enabling researchers to more accurately test under realistic conditions and providing insight into a whole range of possible use scenarios.

"Insulated and chimneyed stoves are a step in the right direction, but not as far as we need to go to get really clean stoves," Bond said. "The next step is to identify both the patterns of stove operation and the factors that lead to the characteristic profile of operation so that those can be brought into the lab and optimized. The cookstove world is moving toward having emission standards. It would be best if those standards were relevant to real operations."


Contact: Liz Ahlberg
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Related biology news :

1. NIH-funded study examines use of mobile technology to improve diet and physical activity behavior
2. Study provides new insights into structure of heart muscle fibers
3. U of M study finds titan cells protect Cryptococcus
4. Variations of a single gene can lead to too much or too little growth, study shows
5. Yale study concludes public apathy over climate change unrelated to science literacy
6. T cells hunt parasites like animal predators seek prey, a Penn Vet-Penn Physics study reveals
7. Study finds voter genetics may predict election outcomes
8. Army study: DNA vaccine and duck eggs protect against hantavirus disease
9. New HealthFocus® International Study Reveals Five Very Different Weight Management Consumers
10. New study shows how nanotechnology can help detect disease earlier
11. University of Leicester study finds low agreeableness linked to a preference for aggressive dogs
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Study finds emissions from widely used cookstoves vary with use
(Date:10/6/2015)... , Oct. 6, 2015 Track Group, ... today that it has signed a contract with the ... across the full range of sentences under the Department,s ... of the Americas. "This contract with the Virginia DOC ... the US and advances our position as a trusted ...
(Date:10/5/2015)... ) releases ... (NASDAQ: NXTD ), a biometric authentication company focused ... ) releases the following market and ... a biometric authentication company focused on the growing mobile ... ) releases the following market and ...
(Date:10/1/2015)... Oct. 1, 2015  Biometrics includes diverse set ... body characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retinas, facial ... of biometrics technology has been constantly increasing in ... five years. In addition to the most prominent ... recognition, other means of biometric authentication are rapidly ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: ... engaged in developing and commercializing novel treatments in oncology, ... Dennis Turpin , the Company,s former Senior Vice ... its Quebec City office.  ... Chief Executive Officer of the Company commented, "After a ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... October 12, 2015 LabStyle Innovations ... Management Solution, today announced its Medical Director, Dr. ... at MobiHealth,s 5th EAI International Conference on Wireless ... through innovations in mobile and wireless technologies," the conference ... from October 14 - 16, 2015. The conference ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015 VolitionRx Limited ... a completed clinical study of its NuQ ® blood-based ... the online issue of Clinical Epigenetics , the official ... conducted in collaboration with Lund University, ... Andersson , MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Vice-Dean, Faculty ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Seattle WA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2015 , ... ... for the treatment of retinal diseases that can safely and chronically be administered as ... Global Health Impact Forum co-hosted by The Cleveland Clinic and taking place October 25th ...
Breaking Biology Technology: