Manufacturing Custom Emissions Equipment
Because fuel use is only a part of the picture of improved stove performance, emissions measurements are also necessary. Equipment capable of measuring emissions can cost up to $100 million, with many levels of complexity. There are several high-level labs located around the world that have the ability to test stoves; however, because of the very real need for easy-to-use, inexpensive, and accurate equipment capable of being used by stove projects in the field, Aprovecho Research Center has worked for the past four years to develop a portable emissions testing kit.
The Portable Emissions Measurement System (PEMS) is essentially a laboratory that fits in a suitcase. It uses a hood to collect all of the emissions made during a test, while monitoring levels of CO, CO2, PM and volumetric flow in real time. Collection of methane and particle samples can also be added for carbon credit testing. This emissions collection method is essential for optimizing stove design; direct measurements are required to calculate total emissions accurately, as opposed to indoor air pollution (IAP) measurements (which vary with time, space, and ventilation). The PEMS system collects all the smoke and gases produced during a cooking task, which results in consistent measurements of total emissions.
If one does not know how a stove performs, then improvements cannot be made. Small design changes can have dramatic effects on fuel use and emissions. The magic of stove testing is that you can easily optimize your stove design by doing a series of tests. This ensures that your efforts toward dissemination and adoption have a greater chance of success.
The ARC-designed Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) Meter tracks levels of CO and PM. These meters can be hung in a home to measure room concentrations, or worn by a cook to measure personal exposure. Several in-depth studies of IAP levels in homes or test kitchens and actual exposure to the cook have been conducted utilizing the IAP Meters. Measurement of personal exposure is achieved by monitoring smoke levels near the mouth and nose of the user, and is an exciting new development that makes it possible to explore the link between improved stoves and improved health. An extensive field study of exposure paired with research into hospital records in the area can be instrumental in proving the beneficial health impacts of improved stoves.