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Aalborg Universitet (2016)

Wood-burning stoves worldwide : technology, innovation and policy

Carvalho Ricardo Luis Teles de

Titre : Wood-burning stoves worldwide : technology, innovation and policy

Auteur : Carvalho Ricardo Luis Teles de

Université de soutenance : Aalborg Universitet

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2016

Résumé partiel
More than any time in our history, the wood-burning stove continues to be the most popular technology used for cooking and heating worldwide. According to the World Health Organization and recent scientific studies, the inefficient use of solid-fuels in traditional stoves constitutes the major global environmental health risk, since these sources are important contributors to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the ambient air that increase climate and health risks.

This thesis explores the social-technical dimensions of both the use of wood-burning stoves (WBSs) and transition to the use of low-emission WBSs worldwide. In chapter 1, an historical view on the development of WBSs is presented taking into account the anthropological aspects associated with the control of the fire. In chapter 2, a scientific review on 9 types of stove technologies was conducted to describe traditional systems, improved efficient retrofits and advanced stove innovations. In chapter 3, four popular wood-burning practices found in five countries were singled-out to be examined closely in four case studies : “cooking in Brazil”, “cooking and heating in Peru”, “heating in Portugal” and “recreational heat in Denmark and Norway”. In each case, investigations were conducted to evaluate potential gains in the performance of WBSs by the adoption of three interventions : 1. Improved cookstoves (ICSs) ; 2. Efficient chimney retrofits ; 3. Digital applications for a smart stove operation. In South-America, the work focused on understanding the effects of cookstove use on the indoor air quality of 20 rural houses. In Europe, qualitative interviews were conducted to study the operation of WBSs in 24 dwellings. The energy and environmental performance of a fireplace, an ordinary wood stove and an automatic stove, were determined through laboratory studies conducted at the University of Aveiro. Finally, energy simulation and indoor climate studies were carried out to analyse the influence of the operation of these types of WBSs on the heating grid of Iberian and Nordic houses. In chapter 4, international energy policies were suggested to facilitate the transition to cleaner wood-burning regimes. Considering that 40% of the world population continues relying on traditional forms of wood-burning, the design and dissemination of cleaner technologies of WBSs constitute relevant strategies to mitigate global climate and health risks. Indeed, these measures can be especially important in places where many residential stoves are used in the same location during atmospheric inversions. Despite the considerable amount of scientific studies conducted in several developed countries to evaluate the impacts of the inefficient use of WBSs for heating on the environment and health, little attention has been paid to these issues in other parts of the world. In general, it was identified that the usage of heating stoves might cause a larger amount of PM2.5 emissions per year (per household) than the use of cookstoves. Globally, the advanced gasifiers and automatic stoves (Digital and Forced air) were identified to be among the best performing technologies. In spite of the fact that the thermal efficiency of the most advanced type of heating stoves (Gasifier) is around twice larger than that achieved for the most advanced type of cookstoves (Forced air), the PM2.5 emission factors reached during the use of both kinds of stoves are within the same range of values, achieving smaller levels than the targets established for the best performing stoves established through an International Organization for Standardization consensus process. On this background, the adoption of advanced WBSs is able to reduce the PM2.5 emission factors in, at least, 80% in relation to improved WBSs (Rocket, Cast-iron and Heavy). That means that even improved interventions applied in different parts of the world do not prevent air pollution due to the improper use of improved stoves.

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