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Yale Awarded $1.5 Million EPA Grant for Research on Cleaner Emissions from Cookstoves

Release Date: 05/28/2014
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

BOSTON – Yale University is one of only six recipients of EPA grant funding intended to advance research into cleaner technologies and fuels for cooking, lighting and heating homes.

Yale will collaborate with researchers from the Universities of Minnesota, Georgia, and British Colombia, as well as North Carolina State and two Indian non-governmental organizations. The group will receive nearly $1.5 million for their research, designed to identify if and how effectively cleaner burning methods can protect air quality and slow the release of greenhouse gas emissions.

More than three billion people worldwide rely on unventilated indoor burning for cooking, heating water and for warmth. Typically these devices burn fuels such as wood, plant matter and animal waste, and unfiltered air emissions from these stoves lead to an estimated four million deaths per year as well as local and regional impacts on air quality.

Traditional cookstoves are a major source of black carbon aerosols, producing one-fifth of all black carbon emissions globally. Aerosols are solid and liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere that impact our climate by affecting the amount of radiation from the sun that reaches the earth. Black carbon is emitted directly into the atmosphere in the form of particulate matter. In addition to contributing to climate change, these particles disrupt precipitation patterns and accelerate the melting of snow and ice, which many people rely on for drinking water and farming.

EPA is providing Yale with $1,499,985 for this project under EPA’s “Science to Achieve Results” (STAR) research program. The Yale research will contribute to an understanding of the health and environmental benefits of cleaner cooking techniques.

“EPA-funded research has and continues to play an important role in advancing our understanding of environmental issues and how best to protect peoples’ health and our environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The research project led by Yale will help advance air quality improvements that will be a benefit to people in the developing world.”

"There has been a technical renaissance in cookstove technology in recent years, but the adoption of these stoves is not where we would like it to be. Hopefully we'll be able to learn more about the conditions that will encourage people to incorporate these improved, robust technologies into their daily lives," said lead researcher Dr. Robert Bailis of Yale University.

Specifically, the Yale research project will study “Experimental Interventions to Facilitate Clean Cookstove Adoption, Promote Clean Indoor Air, and Mitigate Climate Change.” Working with local partners in the Indian states of Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, the project will focus on social science aspects of cookstove acceptance and adoption, which will be critical for understanding how best to target future interventions and determine the most effective methods for implementing stove selection. The project will also focus on measurements of both indoor and outdoor air quality and on global-scale modeling of cookstove climatic impacts. The research has the potential to improve stove designs, increase understanding of stove intervention acceptability by local populations, and enhance climate models which include cookstove emissions.

Grants were also awarded to the following universities under this program: Colorado State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota, University of California - Berkeley, and University of Colorado Boulder.

More Information on EPA STAR grants for cookstoves:

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