Special Issue "Household Cooking and Space Heating: Effects on Air Pollution, Climate Change, and Human Health"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Biometeorology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Zoë Chafe

Guest Editor
Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Interests: household energy; air quality; climate change; human health; outdoor air pollution
Dr. Ajay Pillarisetti

Guest Editor
Environmental Health Sciences, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
Interests: household energy; energy transitions; measurement; exposure assessment; air pollution; air quality; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

 We are pleased to invite your research contributions to a new Special Issue focused on Household Cooking and Space Heating: Effects on Air Pollution, Climate Change, and Human Health. Cooking is a daily activity that is done with a wide variety of fuels across the planet. Some 40% of the world’s population continues to cook with solid fuels, often in situations that create high levels of air pollution. Household space heating is also commonly accomplished by burning solid fuels in countries across the socioeconomic spectrum. The air pollution produced by household cooking and heating is of concern because of its impacts on human health and on environmental quality. These impacts have large economic impacts both for households and countries. Many aspects of these impacts remain poorly understood.

For this special issue, we are particularly interested in papers that address trends in household fuel use for cooking and/or heating; report new information or data on household fuel use; describe new methods for assessing air pollution (and human exposures) associated with household fuel use; investigate the impacts of household energy use on ambient conditions; and/or probe the climate change impacts of household fuel use. Solutions-oriented projects are also of interest, as are policy analyses related to household cooking and heating.

We look forward to your submissions.

Dr. Zoë Chafe, MPH
Dr. Ajay Pillarisetti, MPH
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Cooking
  • Heating
  • Particulate matter
  • Biomass
  • Coal
  • Electrification
  • Outdoor air pollution
  • Indoor air quality
  • Household air pollution
  • Climate change

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Understanding Household Energy Transitions: From Evaluating Single Cookstoves to “Clean Stacking” Alternatives
Atmosphere 2019, 10(11), 693; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10110693 - 10 Nov 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The pervasiveness of “stacking” between traditional and clean fuels/stoves is moving the household clean cooking research and policy agenda from programs that are centered on one-fuel or stove, to multi-clean fuel/device interventions that could result in a more effective displacement of traditional biomass [...] Read more.
The pervasiveness of “stacking” between traditional and clean fuels/stoves is moving the household clean cooking research and policy agenda from programs that are centered on one-fuel or stove, to multi-clean fuel/device interventions that could result in a more effective displacement of traditional biomass stoves. However, there is little recognition and knowledge of the benefits realistic clean-stacking cooking solutions can have on indoor air quality and health. In this paper, particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO) concentration levels that are associated with stove-stacking options (Patsari-U-shaped open fire (U-type), Patsari-liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stove, U-type-LPG, and Patsari-U-type-LPG) common within rural Mexico were evaluated while using a controlled cooking cycle (CCC) from the Purepecha Highlands, which mimics the most common dishes prepared daily within the region as well as their sequential arrangement. The results confirms that the WHO Interim Target-1 (IT1) of 35 μg/m3 for PM2.5 is exceeded whenever woodburning open fires are part of the stacking combination (Patsari-U-type 107 ± 9 μg/m3, U-type-LPG 131 ± 55 μg/m3 and Patsari-U-type-LPG 107 ± 22 μg/m3). However, well-designed and properly operated woodburning chimney stoves, such as the Patsari can meet the IT1, either used exclusively (21 ± 8 μg/m3) or as a “clean stacking” option with LPG (24 ± 5 μg/m3). Given stove stacking patterns, evaluating the health and environmental consequences of stove transitions while assuming the total replacement of traditional fires by clean cooking options will lead to misplaced expectations, and programs should evaluate more realistic “clean-stacking” options. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The 21st Century Coal Question: China, India, Development, and Climate Change
Atmosphere 2019, 10(8), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10080476 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
China and India are not only the two most populous nations on Earth, they are also two of the most rapidly growing economies. Historically, economic and social development have been subsidized by cheap and abundant fossil-fuels. Climate change from fossil-fuel emissions has resulted [...] Read more.
China and India are not only the two most populous nations on Earth, they are also two of the most rapidly growing economies. Historically, economic and social development have been subsidized by cheap and abundant fossil-fuels. Climate change from fossil-fuel emissions has resulted in the need to reduce fossil-fuel emissions in order to avoid catastrophic warming. If climate goals are achieved, China and India will have been the first major economies to develop via renewable energy sources. In this article, we examine the factors of projected population growth, available fossil-fuel reserves, and renewable energy installations required to develop scenarios in which both China and India may increase per capita energy consumption while remaining on trach to meet ambitious climate goals. Here, we show that China and India will have to expand their renewable energy infrastructure at unprecedented rates in order to support both population growth and development goals. In the larger scope of the literature, we recommend community-based approaches to microgrid and cookstove development in both China and India. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics of Spherical Organic Particles Emitted from Fixed-Bed Residential Coal Combustion
Atmosphere 2019, 10(8), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10080441 - 01 Aug 2019
Abstract
Residential coal combustion is one of the most significant sources of carbonaceous aerosols in the Highveld region of South Africa, significantly affecting the local and regional climate. This study investigated single coal-burning particles emitted when using different fire-ignition techniques (top-lit up-draft versus bottom-lit [...] Read more.
Residential coal combustion is one of the most significant sources of carbonaceous aerosols in the Highveld region of South Africa, significantly affecting the local and regional climate. This study investigated single coal-burning particles emitted when using different fire-ignition techniques (top-lit up-draft versus bottom-lit up-draft) and air ventilation rates (defined by the number of air holes above and below the fire grate) in selected informal braziers. Aerosol samples were collected on nucleopore filters at the Sustainable Energy Technology and Research Centre Laboratory, University of Johannesburg. The individual particles (~700) were investigated using a scanning electron microscope equipped with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Two distinct forms of spherical organic particles (SOPs) were identified, one less oxidized than the other. The particles were further classified into electronically dark and bright. The EDX analysis showed that 70% of the dark spherical organic particles had higher (~60%) relative oxygen content than in the bright SOPs. The morphology of spherical organic particles were quantified and classified into four categories: ~50% were bare single particles; ~35% particles were aggregated and formed diffusion accretion chains; 10% had inclusions, and 5% were deformed due to impaction on filter material during sampling. This study concludes that there are two distinct kinds of coal burning spherical organic particles and that dark SOPs are less volatile than bright SOPs. The authors also show that these spherical organic particles are similar in nature and characteristics to tar balls observed in biomass combustion and that they have the potential to absorb sunlight thereby affecting the earth’s radiative budget and climate. This study provides insights into the mixing states, morphology, and possible formation mechanisms of these organic particles from residential coal combustion in informal stoves. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Decarbonizing Space and Water Heating in Temperate Climates: The Case for Electrification
Atmosphere 2019, 10(8), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10080435 - 27 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
In order to meet ambitious carbon reduction goals, direct combustion of fossil fuels in homes will need to largely cease. The largest portion of this reduction will likely come from energy efficiency, but efficiency alone will not be sufficient. In this paper we [...] Read more.
In order to meet ambitious carbon reduction goals, direct combustion of fossil fuels in homes will need to largely cease. The largest portion of this reduction will likely come from energy efficiency, but efficiency alone will not be sufficient. In this paper we look specifically at California and build the case for why energy efficiency with electrification of heating is the most likely path to achieve the large carbon emission reduction needed from this sector. We examine alternative decarbonization strategies, such as solar thermal, biogas, synthetic natural gas and electrification and show why electrification is the most promising path. We evaluate these options across the dimensions of scale, cost, and suitability. We find that, while electrification has the potential to serve all heating loads, the other low-carbon options may serve only 2–70% of loads. We also expect that electrification could reduce emissions from this sector at a cost 25–90+% less than other options. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
The Establishment of the Household Air Pollution Consortium (HAPCO)
Atmosphere 2019, 10(7), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10070422 - 23 Jul 2019
Abstract
Household air pollution (HAP) is of public health concern, with ~3 billion people worldwide (including >15 million in the US) exposed. HAP from coal use is a human lung carcinogen, yet the epidemiological evidence on carcinogenicity of HAP from biomass use, primarily wood, [...] Read more.
Household air pollution (HAP) is of public health concern, with ~3 billion people worldwide (including >15 million in the US) exposed. HAP from coal use is a human lung carcinogen, yet the epidemiological evidence on carcinogenicity of HAP from biomass use, primarily wood, is not conclusive. To robustly assess biomass’s carcinogenic potential, prospective studies of individuals experiencing a variety of HAP exposures are needed. We have built a global consortium of 13 prospective cohorts (HAPCO: Household Air Pollution Consortium) that have site- and disease-specific mortality and solid fuel use data, for a combined sample size of 587,257 participants and 57,483 deaths. HAPCO provides a novel opportunity to assess the association of HAP with lung cancer death while controlling for important confounders such as tobacco and outdoor air pollution exposures. HAPCO is also uniquely positioned to determine the risks associated with cancers other than lung as well as nonmalignant respiratory and cardiometabolic outcomes, for which prospective epidemiologic research is limited. HAPCO will facilitate research to address public health concerns associated with HAP-attributed exposures by enabling investigators to evaluate sex-specific and smoking status-specific effects under various exposure scenarios. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Exposures to Carbon Monoxide in a Cookstove Intervention in Northern Ghana
Atmosphere 2019, 10(7), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10070402 - 16 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Biomass burning for home energy use is a major environmental health concern. Improved cooking technologies could generate environmental health benefits, yet prior results regarding reduced personal exposure to air pollution are mixed. In this study, two improved stove types were distributed over four [...] Read more.
Biomass burning for home energy use is a major environmental health concern. Improved cooking technologies could generate environmental health benefits, yet prior results regarding reduced personal exposure to air pollution are mixed. In this study, two improved stove types were distributed over four study groups in Northern Ghana. Participants wore real-time carbon monoxide (CO) monitors to measure the effect of the intervention on personal exposures. Relative to the control group (those using traditional stoves), there was a 30.3% reduction in CO exposures in the group given two Philips forced draft stoves (p = 0.08), 10.5% reduction in the group given two Gyapa stoves (locally made rocket stoves) (p = 0.62), and 10.2% reduction in the group given one of each (p = 0.61). Overall, CO exposure for participants was low given the prevalence of cooking over traditional three-stone fires, with 8.2% of daily samples exceeding WHO Tier-1 standards. We present quantification methods and performance of duplicate monitors. We analyzed the relationship between personal carbonaceous particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) and CO exposure for the dataset that included both measurements, finding a weak relationship likely due to the diversity of identified air pollution sources in the region and behavior variability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Kitchen Area Air Quality Measurements in Northern Ghana: Evaluating the Performance of a Low-Cost Particulate Sensor within a Household Energy Study
Atmosphere 2019, 10(7), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10070400 - 16 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Household air pollution from the combustion of solid fuels is a leading global health and human rights concern, affecting billions every day. Instrumentation to assess potential solutions to this problem faces challenges—especially related to cost. A low-cost ($159) particulate matter tool called the [...] Read more.
Household air pollution from the combustion of solid fuels is a leading global health and human rights concern, affecting billions every day. Instrumentation to assess potential solutions to this problem faces challenges—especially related to cost. A low-cost ($159) particulate matter tool called the Household Air Pollution Exposure (HAPEx) Nano was evaluated in the field as part of the Prices, Peers, and Perceptions cookstove study in northern Ghana. Measurements of temperature, relative humidity, absolute humidity, and carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentrations made at 1-min temporal resolution were integrated with 1-min particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) measurements from the HAPEx, within 62 kitchens, across urban and rural households and four seasons totaling 71 48-h deployments. Gravimetric filter sampling was undertaken to ground-truth and evaluate the low-cost measurements. HAPEx baseline drift and relative humidity corrections were investigated and evaluated using signals from paired HAPEx, finding significant improvements. Resulting particle coefficients and integrated gravimetric PM2.5 concentrations were modeled to explore drivers of variability; urban/rural, season, kitchen characteristics, and dust (a major PM2.5 mass constituent) were significant predictors. The high correlation (R2 = 0.79) between 48-h mean HAPEx readings and gravimetric PM2.5 mass (including other covariates) indicates that the HAPEx can be a useful tool in household energy studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Attributing Air Pollutant Exposure to Emission Sources with Proximity Sensing
Atmosphere 2019, 10(7), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10070395 - 13 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Biomass burning for home energy use contributes to negative health outcomes and environmental degradation. As part of the REACCTING study (Research on Emissions, Air quality, Climate, and Cooking Technologies in Northern Ghana), personal exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) was measured to gauge the [...] Read more.
Biomass burning for home energy use contributes to negative health outcomes and environmental degradation. As part of the REACCTING study (Research on Emissions, Air quality, Climate, and Cooking Technologies in Northern Ghana), personal exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) was measured to gauge the effects of introducing two different cookstove types over four intervention groups. A novel Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacon system was deployed on a subset of those CO measurement periods to estimate participants’ distances to their most-used cooking areas during the sampling periods. In addition to presenting methods and validation for the BLE Beacon system, here we present pollution exposure assessment modeling results using two different approaches, in which time-activity (proximity) data is used to: (1) better understand exposure and behaviors within and away from homes; and (2) predict personal exposure via microenvironment air quality measurements. Model fits were improved in both cases, demonstrating the benefits of the proximity measurements. Full article
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