BLACK CARBON TESTING MADE POSSIBLE AT CREEC

BLACK CARBON TESTING MADE POSSIBLE AT CREEC

In the recent past, testing emissions from Biomasscookstoves has mainly been concentrated on Particulate Matter (PM 2.5), Carbon dioxide and Carbon monoxide. Emissions testing in Uganda comes with several challenges ranging from the high cost of the equipment, accessing calibration gases and the technical knowhow regarding the use of the equipment.

The good news is that the Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC) has now upgraded its laboratory facilities with state of the art equipment and has trained its staff at renowned International stove testing laboratories namely; Aprovecho Research Centre and the Energy Institute, Colorado State University.

This has been facilitated by financial support from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), a public-private initiative hosted by the United Nations Foundation

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A state-of-the-art Cookstove Laboratory at CREEC equipped with advanced emissions testing equipment

The laboratory is equipped with a Laboratory Emissions Measurement System (LEMS), Testo 350, and a gravimetric system that includes a micro-balance scale with a resolution of 0.01 mg. The laboratory measures emissions of Particulate Matter (PM 2.5), Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide, and Oxygen from biomass cookstoves. The Testo 350 can analyse additional gases such as   Nitrous Oxide (NOx), Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Hydrogen sulphide (H2S), and Total Hydro Carbons (CxHy), if additional sensors are installed. Besides Cookstove testing, Testo 350 can also be used in testing turbines, industrial processes, engine testing and burner tuning.

Black Carbon and Climate Change

Black Carbon (BC) has recently emerged as a major contributor to global climate change, possibly second only to CO2 as the main driver of change and this is because of its strong absorbing capacity of sunlight. BC is produced both naturally and by human activities as a result of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and biomass. Primary sources include emissions from diesel engines, cook stoves, wood burning and forest fires.

Reducing CO2 emissions is essential to avert the worst impacts of future climate change, but CO2 has such a long atmospheric lifetime that it will take several decades for CO2 concentrations to begin to stabilize after emissions reductions begin. In contrast, BC remains in the atmosphere for only a few weeks, so cutting its emissions would immediately reduce the rate of global warming.

CREEC has recently procured a Soot Scan (Model OT21) manufactured by Magee Scientific to help its clients understand how much Black Carbon emissions reductions their stove projects contribute towards combating the impact of climate change.

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From left to right: a microbalance scale and a Soot scan

The Soot Scan Model OT21 Transmissometer bench top analyzer is used to analyze Black Carbon Particulate Matter (PM) from a variety of sample filters which are collected in the process of stove testing or from any other source. The analysis can be easily performed both in the laboratory and in the field to provide optical attenuation and results of BC mass concertation.

“With this added capacity, we are set to provide a fully fledged quality stove testing service that is locally accessible and affordable to all stakeholders in the cooking sector.Agnes Naluwagga, Regional Testing and Knowledge Centre Coordinator at CREEC

CREEC has worked with several cookstoves and fuels manufacturers, project owners, support organizations, promoters and researchers both in the East African region and around the globe to understand the technical and social aspects of their cookstove projects both in the laboratory and in the field.

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