A clean-burning stove is a stove with reduced toxic emissions. The term commonly refers to wood-burning stoves for domestic heating, although it is also applied to cooking stoves. It is distinct from a clean-burning-fuel stove, which typically burns clean fuels such as ethanol, biogas, LPG, or kerosene. Studies into clean-burning stoves have shown that they reduce the emissions of dangerous particulates and carbon monoxide significantly, use less fuel than regular stoves, and result in fewer burn injuries. However, the emissions they produce are still much greater than the safe limits, and they do not appear to be effective at reducing illnesses such as pneumonia induced by breathing polluted air, which may have many sources.
Such stoves are commonly used for domestic heating, although they can also be used for cooking. They have been proposed for introduction to developing countries in order to improve air quality. In addition to their practical use, they can be considered to have an aesthetic aspect by "add[ing] some charm to the décor".
A research summary of the development of such stoves was published in 1982 by Flow Research Inc. Stoves introduced in the 1980s burnt wood pellets rather than logs. By 1986, a directory was available listing 75 such stoves which had satisfied emission testing.
Once the stove is warmed to within operating temperatures, it produces no visible smoke, emitting mostly water and carbon dioxide. Non-catalytic stoves have higher emissions than the new catalytic stoves do when the latter are operated correctly (as of 2003[update]).
A conventional stove in 1984 emitted particulates amounting to approximately 20g/kg (0.3oz/lb). Research by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was reported in 1986 to show that conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema may be aggravated by the use of conventional stoves.
The EPA was reported as announcing plans in 1987 to encourage manufacturers to design stoves with reduced emissions. Clean-burning stoves are authorised for use in smoke control areas in some countries by organisations such as the EPA.
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