Clean Burning Also Necessary for Biomass Home Heating

Since 1976, ARC has been investigating how to improve heat transfer and combustion efficiency in Low Middle Income Countries’ wood burning cook stoves. Emissions of Particulate Matter have been shown to kill millions of people annually. PM concentrations are frighteningly high in homes without chimneys but emissions into outdoor air are an increasing health/climate concern. Incomplete combustion in cooking and heating stoves is an obvious problem especially when compared to the very clean combustion in more mature technologies like automobiles. 

The EPA biomass heating standard allowing two grams per hour of PM to pollute the environment is very lenient. National standards in Europe also allow biomass stoves to endanger health/climate. Cook stoves are forced to burn much more cleanly by stricter WHO standards and ISO benchmarks.

The Guardian’s Environment Editor Damian Carrington reported in 2021, “Despite their severe impacts on air pollution and human health, domestic heating emissions are under-regulated in the EU, especially when compared to other sources such as traffic. Neither the EU EcoDesign requirements nor the more ambitious Nordic ecolabel succeed to keep particle emissions from new stoves within acceptable levels. In 2022 a new EcoDesign stove will be allowed to emit 60 times as much particulate matter as an old truck from 2006, and 750 times as much as a newer truck from 2014.”

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