Emissions and Climate-Relevant Optical Properties of Pollutants Emitted from a Three-Stone Fire and the Berkeley-Darfur Stove Tested under Laboratory Conditions

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Journal Article

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Cooking in the developing world generates pollutants that endanger the health of billions of people and contribute to climate change. This study quantified pollutants emitted when cooking with a three-stone fire (TSF) and the Berkeley-Darfur Stove (BDS), the latter of which encloses the fire to increase fuel efficiency. The stoves were operated at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory testing facility with a narrow range of fuel feed rates to minimize performance variability. Fast (1 Hz) measurements of pollutants enabled discrimination between the stoves’ emission profiles and development of woodsmoke-specific calibrations for the aethalometer (black carbon, BC) and DustTrak (fine particles, PM2.5). The BDS used 65 ± 5% (average ±95% confidence interval) of the wood consumed by the TSF and emitted 50 ± 5% of the carbon monoxide emitted by the TSF for an equivalent cooking task, indicating its higher thermal efficiency and a modest improvement in combustion efficiency. The BDS reduced total PM2.5 by 50% but achieved only a 30% reduction in BC emissions. The BDS-emitted particles were, therefore, more sunlight-absorbing: the average single scattering albedo at 532 nm was 0.36 for the BDS and 0.47 for the TSF. Mass emissions of PM2.5 and BC varied more than emissions of CO and wood consumption over all tests, and emissions and wood consumption varied more among TSF than BDS tests. The international community and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves have proposed performance targets for the highest tier of cookstoves that correspond to greater reductions in fuel consumption and PM2.5 emissions of approximately 65% and 95%, respectively, compared to baseline cooking with the TSF. Given the accompanying decrease in BC emissions for stoves that achieve this stretch goal and BC’s extremely high global warming potential, the short-term climate change mitigation from avoided BC emissions could exceed that from avoided CO2 emissions.


Environmental Science & Technology



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