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EPA’s Next Target: Off-Grid Cooking Stoves

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The EPA may be preparing to take its battle against greenhouse gases into the kitchen. The agency has revealed that it is financing research on cooking stoves to test for air-pollutant levels and energy efficiency.

“This research will help to improve air quality, protect public health and slow climate change,” an EPA press release claimed.

The agency is paying for research to examine wood, charcoal, coal and even dung-burning stoves that are used some in America – off-grid rocket stoves [1] are one example — but also in many developing countries. Most Americans cook with electricity, natural gas and propane. Cooking stoves are popular among campers, off-gridders and survivalists.

“Nearly half of the people in the world still depend on the burning of biomass (wood, charcoal, crop residues, and dung) and coal in rudimentary cook stoves or open fires to cook their food,” a post on the EPA website noted. “People in developing countries, primarily women and children, are exposed to smoke with high concentrations of pollutants such as fine particles composed of toxic compounds.”

The EPA is paying $9 million to six universities to study new technologies and the “climate benefits of cleaner cooking methods.” Research [2] will “focus on measuring and communicating the benefits of adopting cleaner cooking, heating, and lighting practices.”

The Most Versatile Backup Stove In The World Allows You To Cook Anything, Any Time, Any Where [3]

The agency is participating in what is called the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves [4], which wants to encourage the use of Clean Cooking Technologies. The alliance is trying to develop safer and cleaning cooking devices for persons in the developing world. Its website does not say how those people will be able to pay for the new technologies.

The EPA’s grants were awarded to:

“There has been a technical renaissance in cookstove technology in recent years, but the adoption of these stoves is not where we would like it to be. Hopefully we’ll be able to learn more about the conditions that will encourage people to incorporate these improved, robust technologies into their daily lives,” said lead researcher Robert Bailis of Yale University.

What do you think about the EPA’s move? Let us know in the comments section below.

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