Real-Time Assessment of Black Carbon Pollution

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Real-Time Assessment of Black Carbon Pollution

Postby Wilberforce » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:10 pm

Real-Time Assessment of Black Carbon Pollution in Indian Households
Due to Traditional and Improved Biomass Cookstoves

Abhishek Kar†, Ibrahim H. Rehman†, Jennifer Burney*‡, S. Praveen Puppala‡, Ramasubramanyaiyer Suresh†, Lokendra Singh†, Vivek K. Singh†, Tanveer Ahmed‡, Nithya Ramanathan§, and Veerabhadran Ramanathan‡
† The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, India
‡ Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, California, 92121, United States
§ Center for Embedded Sensor Networking, University of California, Los Angeles, California, 90095, United States
Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/es203388g
Publication Date (Web): February 27, 2012
Copyright © 2012 American Chemical Society
*E-mail: jburney@ucsd.edu.

Abstract
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Use of improved (biomass) cookstoves (ICs) has been widely proposed as a Black Carbon (BC) mitigation measure with significant climate and health benefits. ICs encompass a range of technologies, including natural draft (ND) stoves, which feature structural modifications to enhance air flow, and forced draft (FD) stoves, which additionally employ an external fan to force air into the combustion chamber. We present here, under Project Surya, the first real-time in situ Black Carbon (BC) concentration measurements from five commercial ICs and a traditional (mud) cookstove for comparison. These experiments reveal four significant findings about the tested stoves. First, FD stoves emerge as the superior IC technology, reducing plume zone BC concentration by a factor of 4 (compared to 1.5 for ND). Indoor cooking-time BC concentrations, which varied from 50 to 1000 μg m–3 for the traditional mud cookstove, were reduced to 5–100 μg m–3 by the top-performing FD stove. Second, BC reductions from IC models in the same technology category vary significantly: for example, some ND models occasionally emit more BC than a traditional cookstove. Within the ND class, only microgasification stoves were effective in reducing BC. Third, BC concentration varies significantly for repeated cooking cycles with same stove (standard deviation up to 50% of mean concentration) even in a standardized setup, highlighting inherent uncertainties in cookstove performance. Fourth, use of mixed fuel (reflective of local practices) increases plume zone BC concentration (compared to hardwood) by a factor of 2 to 3 across ICs.
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