Technology for the Reduction of Particulate Matter Emissions for Residential Propane BBQs

EPA Grant Number: SU835698
Title: Technology for the Reduction of Particulate Matter Emissions for Residential Propane BBQs
Investigators: Mende, Elizabeth , Mejia, Alonso , Cocker, David , Tam, Kawai
Current Investigators: Tam, Kawai , Cocker, David , Mejia, Alonso , Christopher, Phillip , Luck, Brian , Madrigal, Andrew , Situ, Kalyn , Tayag, Matthew
Institution: University of California - Riverside
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2014 through August 14, 2015
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Awards , Sustainability


To perform research and develop preventative technology that will reduce fine particulate emissions (PM2.5) from residential barbecues. This technology is intended to reduce air pollution as well as health hazards in Southern California, with potential for global application.


The design will reduce particulate matter emissions with a two-step process, minimizing the amount of grease that is volatilized via direct contact with an open flame, and secondary treatment to filter or catalyze created particulate matter during the cooking process. The primary approach is a preventative method that will remove the majority of grease drippings from the possibility of unwanted flare ups. A slotted and corrugated tray is inserted immediately prior to meat flipping, and removed immediately after. This short contact time prevents the tray from over-heating and volatilizing the collected grease. This collected grease will then drip off into a collection tray and can be used at the pit master’s discretion. 100% prevention is not practical, therefore a secondary filtration system is proposed to mitigate the remaining aerosol and particulate matter formed. The secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method. This system can be powered by either an exterior electric motor with a chain-driven drive shaft, directly spinning the fan blade, or a hand-powered crank. Both of these power methods produce the same result of creating rotational speed for the fan blade. The catalytic treatment system will include a cylindrical housing with multiple honeycomb shaped filters coated with catalytic material to break down volatized organic matter. A filtration method will include multi-stage filters going from greater to smaller pore sizes to avoid quick clogging and allow PM10 and PM2.5 to be removed from the barbecue environment. By reducing PM2.5, the well-being of the community will benefit due to cleaner emissions. This project will be a part of the senior design project for the Chemical and Environmental Engineering department at the University of California, Riverside in collaboration with CE-CERT.

Expected Results:

We expect to limit the overall air pollution PM emissions from barbecuing and to alleviate some of the acute health hazards that a barbecue pit master can experience from inhalation. The particulate matter present during cooking with and without the grease diverter and PM2.5 filters will be tested and compared to that of current data using a conventional propane barbecue using a fumehood chamber with detectors at CE-CERT. Personal exposure of PM2.5 will also be monitored throughout the experimentation period to determine the degree of acute exposure of particulates to the cook.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

air pollution control, innovative technology, welfare, smog, haze, reduced visibility

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report