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Global Air Quality Trekkers (GAQT)

  • Website: https://epics.ecn.purdue.edu/gaqt
  • Contact Information: epics-gaqt@purdue.edu
  • Description: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) associated with exposure to elevated concentrations of indoor air pollutants produced by biomass stoves in poorly ventilated kitchens has led to nearly 4 million deaths annually (WHO, 2016). Women and children bare the great majority of the disease burden since they spend much of their time in the kitchens. This problem is observed in many developing areas of the world, including Nandi County in western Kenya. A group of women from Nandi saw the serious health effects this issue has imposed on their community and designed and built modified kitchens with improved ventilation via a chimney and additional roof-top and façade airflow pathways. During our January 2017 research visit to Nandi, we found a 60-80% reduction in particulate matter (fine and ultrafine particles) and carbon monoxide between the newly modified and traditional Nandi kitchens. We are working with Nandi women’s group to further improve kitchen ventilation through passive natural ventilation design and modeling. We will be building two demo kitchens this summer in Nandi to test our design improvements on the ground. Nandi women’s groups will visit the demo kitchens and see the ventilation modifications in-person and learn how they can implement these changes in their own kitchens. We will also use these visits to receive feedback from Nandi women on further design modifications that could be implemented.
  • Partners: Moi University School of Medicine: Dr. David K. Lagat. Dr. David K. Lagat is a chest surgeon and associate professor at the hospital associated with Moi University. In addition, he is a member of the Nandi community and will be integral to the scope of the project in terms of the health effects of soot particulate deposition in the lungs and how this may change with the implementation of our design. AMPATH Kenya: Prof. Joe Mamlin and Irene Kalamai (nurse). Prof. Joe Mamlin is a professor emeritus from the Indiana School of Medicine. He has spent his whole career working on global development and is currently a leader for AMPATH Kenya. Families of the Nandi community: Over winter break 2017 the team worked with four families specifically. However, the team will take into account the broader cultural context of the whole Nandi community. Global Engineering Program Innovation for International Development (I2D) Lab: Andrea Burniske and Prof. Arvind Raman Danielle Wagner: Graduate student studying Environmental and Ecological Engineering focusing on indoor air quality. The EPICS project this semester is under broader scope of her master’s thesis project.
  • Mission: The primary purpose of GAQT is to collaborate with communities to develop natural ventilation solutions to solve problems related to poor indoor air quality such as COPD.
  • Delivered: We have not permanently delivered any projects to date. However, we brought our Fall 2016 project, an air quality monitor, to Kenya on our winter 2017 research trip.
  • Technologies The primary technologies currently employed by GAQT are: AutoCAD, LoopDA, SimScale (CFD Modeling), and Air Quality Instrumentation. In the past we have also used Arduino and Raspberry Pi Microcontrollers.
  • Area: Environmental
  • Fall 2017 Division: 65
  • Fall 2017 Schedule: Fridays 10:30 am - 12:20 pm