Beyond PM2.5: Why the Size of Particles from Cookstoves Matter

Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 1:00pm
3110 Etcheverry Hall
Dr. Vi Rapp

Research Scientist

Environmental Technologies Area

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


ME + LBNL Seminar Series


About 3-billion people worldwide cook using open fires or rudimentary stoves that are inefficient and highly polluting. To address the 3.6 million annual premature deaths associated with inhaling smoke from inefficient stoves, researchers have developed a variety of improved cookstoves primarily focusing on reducing particulate matter (PM). Previous research demonstrates that secondary air injection into the combustion zone increases turbulent mixing and can dramatically reduce PM emissions. However, the design parameters for air injection driving emission reductions are not well characterized, and results are unclear if air injection reduces both total PM mass emissions as well as the number concentration of ultrafine particles, which may be more detrimental to human health than larger PM. During this seminar, I will present emission results from Berkeley Lab’s forced-air, wood-fueled cookstoves and demonstrate how air injection impacts total PM mass and size-resolved number concentration. I will also compare emissions from Berkeley Lab designed stoves to commercially available stoves and discuss the corresponding health implications.


Dr. Vi Rapp, Research Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, focuses on developing and assessing heat and power generation technologies to reduce climate impact, influence policy, and improve human health. Her current research includes: developing methods for assessing indoor air quality in residential buildings; developing efficient, low emission technologies for combustion appliances; advancing technologies for high temperature waste heat recovery, and identifying the scientific underpinnings for significantly reducing harmful emissions from biomass cookstoves. Dr. Rapp holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation focused on reducing emissions and improving efficiency of internal combustion engines by implementing alternative modes of combustion and unconventional fuels.


Hosted by: Assistant Professor M. Reza Alam, 6111 Etcheverry Hall, 510- 643-2591,