A Laboratory Assessment of 120 Air Pollutant Emissions from Biomass and Fossil Fuel Cookstoves

Kelsey R. Bilsback, Jordyn Dahlke, Kristen M. Fedak, Nicholas Good, Arsineh Hecobian, Pierre Herckes, Christian L'Orange, John Mehaffy, Amy Sullivan, Jessica Tryner, Lizette Van Zyl, Ethan S. Walker, Yong Zhou, Jeffrey R. Pierce, Ander Wilson, Jennifer L. Peel, John Volckens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Cookstoves emit many pollutants that are harmful to human health and the environment. However, most of the existing scientific literature focuses on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO). We present an extensive data set of speciated air pollution emissions from wood, charcoal, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cookstoves. One-hundred and twenty gas- and particle-phase constituents - including organic carbon, elemental carbon (EC), ultrafine particles (10-100 nm), inorganic ions, carbohydrates, and volatile/semivolatile organic compounds (e.g., alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, aromatics, carbonyls, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)) - were measured in the exhaust from 26 stove/fuel combinations. We find that improved biomass stoves tend to reduce PM2.5 emissions; however, certain design features (e.g., insulation or a fan) tend to increase relative levels of other coemitted pollutants (e.g., EC ultrafine particles, carbonyls, or PAHs, depending on stove type). In contrast, the pressurized kerosene and LPG stoves reduced all pollutants relative to a traditional three-stone fire (≥93% and ≥79%, respectively). Finally, we find that PM2.5 and CO are not strong predictors of coemitted pollutants, which is problematic because these pollutants may not be indicators of other cookstove smoke constituents (such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde) that may be emitted at concentrations that are harmful to human health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7114-7125
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 18 2019


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