Welcome to Kathleen Lask, a PhD candidate visiting from the University of California Berkeley. Kathleen was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) grant to collaborate with the University of Adelaide. The NSF GROW grant aims to expand opportunities for fellows to enhance professional development through research collaborations at top-calibre science and engineering research sites overseas. Kathleen is working here with Paul Medwell and Cris Birzer using laser diagnostic techniques to identify the mechanisms behind particulate reductions in biomass Cookstoves.
Nearly half of the world’s population cooks on biomass fires and the pollutants emitted from those fires cause 4.3 million premature deaths per year. A promising technique to reduce the particulate emissions from these stoves is injecting secondary air into the combustion chamber of the stove to promote mixing and recirculation. Early results have shown that this technique can drastically reduce particulate matter from the stove; however if applied incorrectly, secondary air injection can actually increase the number of particles emitted. Kathleen’s research focuses on defining promising secondary air injection modifications and identifying the underlying mechanisms that are reducing or increasing particulate emissions. Through this, she hopes to provide stove developers with a design foundation for secondary air injection systems that avoid undesirable consequences.