Mark your calendars for the next Rocky Mountain States Section Air & Waste Management Meeting on Tuesday February 27th at the first floor conference center at 1801 California Street in Downtown Denver. Please note that the meeting will start and end a little earlier than usual, 11:00am – 12:30pm.

Tobi Oke, our guest speaker present “Improved Biomass Cookstoves – Do they truly improve the reduction of aerosol particles numbers?” Research studies estimate about 3 billion people burn some form of biomass fuel daily for either cooking or heating purposes. Their emissions are considered the most important environmental risk factor, responsible for an estimate of 3.9 million deaths and about 4.8% of lost healthy life. Global efforts with “improved cookstoves” offer improved efficiency and reduced exposures, most especially mass concentrations of CO and PM2.5 by up to 50%. However, there are still some questions as to what degree improved cookstoves reduce human exposure to air pollutants, particularly the number of ultrafine particles (particles with diameter less than 100nm). Ultrafine particles have been implicated for health outcomes including lung cancer, upper respiratory infections in children, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to these fine particles’ unique properties such as high mobility, surface area, and ability to penetrate deeply into the alveolar region of the lungs. Thus, it is important to consider the extent that improved cookstoves help to reduce the particle number emissions as a function of size from combustion of solid fuels. Here I will look at the influence of combustion efficiency and fuels on particle number emission factors.

Oluwatobi Oke (Tobi) hails from Lagos, Nigeria. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria and proceeded to work for a year in an engineering consulting firm. Passionate about the environment, he decided to pursue another M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Kip Carrico at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro. His research study focused on “Aerosol Physical Properties and Emission Factors from Open Biomass Burning and Cookstove Emissions.” During his program, he did not limit his interest to Air Quality. He interned with D.C. Water in Washington, D.C., where he worked with Professional Engineers on stream restoration, stabilization and sewer designs. Upon graduation, he later worked on a 6 month contract with Buckman Direct Diversion, Santa Fe, on a research study in conjunction with Los Alamos National Lab on addressing the LANL-origin contaminants in storm water runoff in the Rio Grande. His affinity for research motivated him to pursue a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University, Fort Collins where he is currently working on the “influence of built environment on human health and air quality in U.S cities.”

Attendance is free, but please RSVP by Monday 2/26 to Joe Rubino at [email protected]. Feel free to share this announcement with other colleagues who may be interested.