March 18, 2015

The Facts about Grilling, Emissions Reduction, and the EPA

HPBA is not aware of any initiative by EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) that would involve or contemplate the regulation of grills in the U.S.

Arlington, VA Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided research grants to 62 university research teams in the amount of $15,000. Now in its 11th year, these grants are part of the annual EPA P3 - People, Prosperity, and the Planet - Program, which is a competition between colleges to design solutions for a sustainable future. One of these grants was provided to a team from the University of California (Riverside) to research and develop strategies to reduce cooking emissions by looking at flare up prevention and technology available to filter or catalyze particulate matter produced during the cooking process. The project will be a part of the senior design project for the University’s Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department in collaboration with UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT).

The competition has two phases. For the first phase of the competition, teams are awarded a $15,000 grant to develop their idea. They bring the design in April to the National Sustainable Design Expo in Virginia to compete for the P3 Award and a grant of $75,000 to take their design to real world application.

In the U.S. and other developed countries, most grilling and barbecuing enthusiasts cook outdoors in a well-ventilated area. In parts of the Third World, many people cook on open fires indoors in very poorly ventilated areas. Groups like the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves are working to address this problem and also host the annual Cookstoves Future Summit. The EPA makes it clear on their website that this is largely an issue in the developing world.

No one likes grease flare ups, but thankfully there are many products out there that address this issue such as grates, cedar planks, and cooking trays. One of the best methods to reduce this problem is grilling or barbecuing with indirect heat. This method entails placing food on your grill on a spot not directly over your heat source.

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), based in Arlington, Va., is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of barbecue, patio and hearth appliances, fuels and accessories. The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising, and consumer education.

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