EPA Funds University Research on Cleaner Fuel Burning to Improve Air Quality

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new funding for six universities to research cleaner technologies and fuels for cooking, lighting, and heating homes that will help improve air quality and protect the health of Alaska Natives and people across the developing world.

“Health and environmental impacts of air pollution and climate expand beyond the borders of any one country,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This research funding seeks to provide new tools to reduce health risks for the nearly three billion people around the world who are exposed to household air pollution from crude stoves.”

Researchers at universities in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois and Minnesota will receive $9 million in grant funding. Researchers are evaluating the climate benefits of cleaner cooking methods. Traditional cookstoves are a major source of black carbon, an air pollutant that not only has serious human health impacts, but also affects climate, including increased temperatures, accelerated ice and snow melt and changes in the pattern and intensity of precipitation.

This Science to Achieve Results (STAR) funded research will focus on measuring and communicating the benefits of adopting cleaner cooking, heating, and lighting practices.

Grants were awarded to the following universities:

  • $1,495,454 to University of California, Berkeley, Calif. – will explore the relationship between household and village-scale pollution to understand the effectiveness of cookstove interventions.
  • $1,500,000 to University of Colorado Boulder, Colo. will use small, inexpensive sensors to better monitor human exposure to residential burning pollution. They will also collect data through health assessments and outdoor air quality measurements in Ghana.
  • $1,500,000 to Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo. – will use cookstove interventions in China, India, Kenya, and Honduras to explore the emissions, chemistry, and movement of indoor cookstove smoke, as well as conduct health assessments and model exposures to improve understanding of climatic impacts of stove interventions.
  • $1,499,998 to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ill. – will investigate how local resources affect community acceptance of heating stove interventions, and how measurements will help understand air quality and climatic benefits of cookstove interventions in Alaska, Nepal, Mongolia, and China.
  • $1,489,388 to University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. – will measure changes in air quality and health outcomes from cleaner cooking and heating technologies and will conduct modeling to assess regional weather, air quality impacts, human exposure and health impacts of a rural cookstove intervention in China.
  • $1,499,985 to Yale University, New Haven, Conn. – will use socioeconomic analyses, emissions and pollution measurements, and global climate modeling to investigate the impacts of cookstove interventions in India.

The announcement was made by Administrator Gina McCarthy at the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves reception, an initiative led by the United Nations Foundation. As a founding member of the Alliance, EPA plays an important role in the organization’s activities.

EPA is a leader in cleaner cookstove research, helping to support the development of international cookstove standards, conducting research on emissions and performance of cleaner cookstoves and improving our knowledge of the health effects from exposure to cookstove emissions.

The Alliance is a public-private partnership that seeks to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. Its goal: 100 million homes adopting clean cooking solutions by 2020.


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