Despite extensive electrification of low-income residential areas on the South African Highveld, extensive use is still made of wood and coal as domestic fuels, particularly for winter space heating. In informal settlements characterised by poverty and lacking electrification, coal is combusted in non-standardised, inefficient and polluting metal braziers, colloquially known as imbaulas. Copious emissions from domestic coal fires result in elevated household and ambient air pollution levels well above national air quality limits. Despite the severity of this pollution as a public health issue, emissions data from residential coal-burning braziers are still scarce. Consequently, there is a need to evaluate the emission characteristics of these devices. In this paper, we report on controlled combustion experiments carried out to investigate systematically influences of fire-ignition methods and stove ventilation rates on gaseous and condensed matter (smoke) emissions from informal residential coal combustion braziers. Two methods of stove ignition-conventional bottom-lit updraft (BLUD) and the top-lit updraft (TLUD) (colloquially known as the Basa njengo Magogo) were investigated. Emission factors (EFs) were found to be dependent on fire ignition method and stove ventilation rates. The top-lit ignition method reduces PM10/PM2.5 by 76% to 80% compared to the BLUD method. Carbon monoxide emissions do not change significantly with the ignition method. Pollutant emissions from normal combustion in high ventilation conditions were low compared to pollutants emitted when an oxygen deficient atmosphere was created under low ventilation conditions. High stove ventilation rates resulted in a 50% reduction in PM10/PM2.5 emissions compared to the low ventilation rates. Emissions of gaseous and particulate matter from incomplete combustion can be minimised by design optimisation of the braziers. Ideally, the emissions of condensed matter particles (which form the bulk of emitted particles in residential coal fires) can be reduced through good mixing of emitted gases and air, and by ensuring a long residence time in the high temperature oxygen rich post combustion zone, to allow for complete oxidation. This study is significant in that it presents the first systematic and comprehensive study of factors affecting emissions from coal braziers.
Makonese, T., Masekameni, D. M., Annegarn, H. J., & Forbes, P. B. C. (2015). Influence of fire-ignition methods and stove ventilation rates on gaseous and particle emissions from residential coal braziers. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa, 26(4), 16–28. https://doi.org/10.17159/2413-3051/2016/v26i4a2089