Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois


Indoor Air Quality Researchers Participate in Alaska Cookstove Study

Varities of Common Cookstoves

ISTC's Indoor Climate Research and Training Program (ICRT) will participate in an effort to document the benefits of cleaner cooking, heating and lighting practices in parts of the world where biomass is burned indoors.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency May 28 announced a broad $9 million funding initiative to measure and communicate the benefits of switching to new fuels and techniques in parts of Alaska and regions of Asia and Africa where there is a long-standing tradition of using biomass in cookstoves.

Researchers at six universities were selected, each with $1.5 million awards, to participate in the initiative. Tami Bond, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering will lead the University of Illinois team. Other teams will represent the University of California, Berkeley, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State University, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Yale University.

The ICRT group will be working with the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority in Southeast Alaska to perform measurements that help assess how indoor and neighborhood air pollution are affected by burning solid fuel for heating, according to Paul Francisco, program head. 

EPA has long been funding research on air pollution from indoor cookstoves. The World Health Organization estimates that more than four million people each year die prematurely from cookstove smoke.

Engineers and policy makers work to invent and distribute healthier ways to cook and heat homes. The three-year U of I work is looking at how fuel use changes seasonally, how it contributes to pollution and how technological interventions can improve air quality.

Francisco said the residential emission measurements will be performed both before and after interventions. He added that they will also make building leakage measurements which will be used to correlate with indoor air quality measurements.

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