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Improved Cook Stoves Might Actually Be Dangerous  RSS feed

 
Henry Ikeme
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This is not conclusive yet, but some researchers believe that the fine soot emitted from improved cook stoves can end up in your bloodstream and cause problem. Here is the source: http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059978953.
 
Michael Cox
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In a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology last week, researchers found that improved cookstoves produced three times as many ultrafine particles of black carbon, also known as soot, smaller than 30 nanometers in diameter for a given unit of fuel compared with open fires. Ultrafine generally refers to particles than have diameters below 100 nanometers. In addition, the team discovered overall soot emissions per unit of fuel were similar across different stove designs.


They also typically use one half to one third as much fuel when compared to open fires, and the overall health benefits from improved stoves are massive... less CO in the atmosphere for a start, due to cleaner combustion.

No action, in any field, is wholly good... you can always point to a negative with everything. But this argument appears to be a slight of hand deflecting attention away from the big up front benefits.
 
Glenn Herbert
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As you point out, the increased ultrafine particles per mass of fuel in improved stoves is offset by the decreased mass, resulting in no significant change there, but a major reduction in overall particles and saving of fuel cost.

If the increased efficiency of the stoves means they are used more, that will only be to give those households a better standard of living (warmth and such). That should be discouraged? What other means would they have to stay warm, and how much pollution would be created in producing it?

They say "study... found that designers could cut black carbon emissions from stoves using forced drafting." Yes, that sounds like a reasonable solution for millions (billions?) of households that don't have any electricity...
 
Henry Ikeme
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Only time will tell. Improved stoves have lots of benefits but nothing should be ignored.
 
Glenn Herbert
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I think the headline of the story should read "Improved Cookstoves Might Not Reduce All the Dangers of Primitive Methods"...
 
Henry Ikeme
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Hmmm, not that primitive to me. Truth is when I first read about improved stoves, I fell in love with it. Right now I'm planning to build one using metal, but then I discovered the metal will burn out. So I'm now looking for ways to make my own insulative brick.
 
Jason Howell
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Just living, breathing and passing gas effects the planet also. Everything we do affects the planet, but there is always a lesser of two evils. I'm no scientist, but a stove that uses less fuel and burns cleaner seems hard to beat. The one thing that does confuse me is that fires are mother natures way of cleansing. Forest fires put out a whole lot off smoke and other stuff into the air. Can you imagine if all the fires that were started by lightning just burnt until they ran out of fuel? That is the natural path of things though. How can the explain the effects of this?
 
Henry Ikeme
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Pollution can be from natural or human sources. The earth can always repair itself to some extent, but if we humans should overload it, things can go downhill. Anyway, I'm not saying improved stoves are bad, they're far better than the primitive methods, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look for potential problems they may pose. For example, very high temperature combution makes machines more efficient, but by looking for potential problems, we see that at such temperatures pollutants like NOX are produced. So we shudn't just say improved stoves are ok and relax. I hail the pessimistic researchers.
 
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