Dr. John Volckens Receives $1.5M Grant From EPA STAR

Kelsey Bilsback (left), CSU mechanical engineering Ph.D. student, checks flow rates on a portable sampler before beginning emissions sampling in Tamil Nadu, India.

Last year, we covered a story about Professor John Volckens receiving a $2.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the health effects of inhaling emissions from cookstoves that use biomass combustion. Additionally, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency – Science to Achieve Results, recognized his work in the area with a $1.5 million grant to continue researching the repercussions of biomass combustion cookstoves, focusing on their effect on the climate and the implications of cookstove interventions on a global/macro scale.

A Honduran Home where research took place.

Specifically, this project aims to develop and apply a framework to quantify climate, regional air quality, and indoor air quality benefits of cookstove interventions. The study is composed of in-depth laboratory experiments and immersive field studies in China, Honduras, Uganda, and India.

ME graduate student Kelsey Bilsback, with help from Megan Graham, an environmental and radiological health sciences graduate student, and Jack Kodros, an atmospheric science Ph.D. student, among others, have been collecting emissions and usage data from households to better understand how and how often individuals are using their cookstoves and the composition of the emissions being emitted by their cookstoves. Each field study takes place across several weeks; the study should be complete by the summer of 2017.

EPA NIH graphicThe laboratory and field data will be used in conjunction with computer modeling efforts led by Dr. Jeff Pierce, of CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, and Kodros to predict the climate and health benefits from different potential cookstove interventions. How clean is clean enough to really make a difference in health and climate conditions around the world?




Photos courtesy of Michael Johnson of the Berkeley Air Monitoring Group and Rose Eilenberg of Carnegie Mellon University.