Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The dark side of kerosene lamps: High black carbon emissions

11.12.2012
The small kerosene lamps that light millions of homes in developing countries have a dark side: black carbon – fine particles of soot released into the atmosphere.

New measurements show that kerosene wick lamps release 20 times more black carbon than previously thought, say researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of California, Berkeley. The group published its findings in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Black carbon is a hazard for human health and the environment, affecting air quality both indoors and out. It has a major impact on climate as it absorbs heat and sunlight, warming the air. Although it only lingers in the atmosphere for about two weeks, one kilogram of black carbon can cause as much warming in that short time as 700 kilograms of carbon dioxide circulating in the atmosphere for 100 years, according to study leader Tami Bond, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the U. of I.

“There’s a lot of interest right now in reducing black carbon as a quick way to reduce climate warming – a way to reduce warming in the immediate future, although not a full solution to long-term climate change,” Bond said. “In its short lifetime of two weeks, it adds a lot of energy to the atmosphere. It’s immediate warming now, which is why people are talking about reducing it.”

Previously, emissions researchers did not consider kerosene lamps a large source of black carbon because of the relatively small amount of fuel used in a lamp verses other particle-emitting sources, such as cookstoves or diesel engines. However, the new measurements from the field show that 7 to 9 percent of fuel burned is converted to black carbon – a very high emission factor, making such lamps a major source of black carbon.

In addition, unlike the cocktail of aerosol particles released by cookstoves and cooking fires, the dark curls rising from a kerosene lamp are nearly pure black carbon.

The good news is that there are inexpensive, easy alternatives that could curb black carbon emissions from lamps. For example, LED lamps charged by solar panels are becoming more popular. But an even easier fix would be to place a glass shield around the lamp, which reduces – though does not eliminate – the amount of black carbon particles that escape.

“Unlike cooking stoves, which also are very important health hazards but challenging to replace, people actually like to replace the kerosene lamps,” Bond said. “When it comes to lamps, nobody says, ‘I really like this tin can that I filled with kerosene.’ It’s a plausible, inexpensive way to reduce climate warming immediately, which is something we haven’t really had in the black carbon field before.”

The study authors hope that, with the new data in hand, agencies working in developing countries will implement lamp-replacement initiatives to develop and distribute affordable alternatives.

"Getting rid of kerosene lamps may seem like a small, inconsequential step to take,” said study lead author Nicholas Lam, a UC Berkeley graduate student, “but when considering the collective impact of hundreds of millions of households, it's a simple move that affects the planet."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Environmental Protection Agency supported this research.

Editor’s notes: To reach Tami Bond, call 217-244-5277; email yark@illinois.edu. The paper, “Household Light Makes Global Heat: High Black Carbon Emissions From Kerosene Wick Lamps,” is available online.

Liz Ahlberg | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>