Lab Tests: Cooking and Heating Stoves

Unfortunately, although introductions to lab tests warn that results do not predict actual performance, the recent use of lab data to earn carbon credits has made an unfortunate error more commonplace. For decades, introductions to lab tests have warned that only field-testing can determine actual efficiency, emissions, effectiveness, market validity, etc. The World Health Organization based their stove standards aimed at protecting health on field-testing for this reason. 

Lab tests are helpful when comparing performance to understand how fire might be more useful. Starting with the 1985 International Standards, test users were advised not to use lab data to predict actual performance. While improving other carbon methodologies, using field-testing to estimate reductions would dramatically improve the accuracy of offsets.  

Carefully performed lab tests tend to overestimate fuel efficiency and underestimate emissions. This has landed cook stoves and heating stoves in serious controversy. A lab tested Tier 4 cookstove can be Tier 2 in real life – or mistaken for a flowerpot. My first Rocket stoves were often used for this important function in Mexico. 

A lab tested 2 g/hr PM heating stove often emits a lot more smoke when the harmful pollutant is measured from chimneys in houses. In an effort to reduce confounding variables, lab tests show closer to optimal performance. Real life human beings tend to operate stoves with less care, wood is wet, life deserves attention, too.

Maybe the test warnings should have been highlighted in green?

International Standards, 1985

(ISO 19867-1)

Cleaner Burning Biomass Stoves: In Homes!
The British Petroleum clean burning Oorja FD-TLUD stove from India

If protecting health and climate are important in stove projects, why not monetize the reductions of health/climate pollutants in carbon-offset projects?

Only the reduction in fuel use earns carbon income now!

With equal heat transfer efficiency, dirty burning stoves earn as much as clean burning stoves.

Dirty burning stoves are less expensive. “Market demand” reinforces the use of biomass stoves with low combustion efficiency.

Why not add income from reductions in CO, PM2.5 and Black Carbon, etc. to carbon projects to get cleaner burning stoves into use?

The approved 2017 Gold Standard Methodology already exists to do this! See: