The Pennsylvania State University


Our research group is focused on the use of thermoacoustic technologies to reduce global warming through strategies that mitigate emissions of products of incomplete combustion (e.g., black carbon) and the use synthetic refrigerants with global warming potentials thousands of times larger than carbon dioxide (e.g., CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs).

Organization Type Academia

Contact Information

Primary Contact
Dr. Steven Garrett
Secondary Contact

Address Graduate Program in Acoustics
PO Box 30
State College, PA

United States
Calling/Fax Instructions

Our Focus

Primary Initiatives, Target Populations, and Scope of Work:

Our focus is on the development and testing of laboratory prototypes for proof-of-concept demonstrations.

Fuels/Technologies: Biomass
Sectors of Experience: Education
Renewable Energy
Countries of Operation: Brunei

Our Experience And Interest In The Four PCIA Central Focus Areas

Social/Cultural barriers to using traditional fuels and stoves:

The focus of our approach to crossing socio-cultural barriers is to develop stoves that provide "additional functionality" through co-generation using cook stove waste heat to generate small amounts (<10 watts) of electricity. Some of that electricity (1-2 watts) can provide power to a fan to improve stove performance (e.g., reduce cooking time, control turn-down ratio, and make small improvements to combustion efficiency and heat transfer while making substantial reduction in emissions) but the bulk of the electricity would be available to provide power for high-efficiency night lighting, charging cell 'phones, etc. The assumption is that a stove will be adopted if it cooks as well as the stove it replaces but provides a secondary service of high value that the traditional stove cannot.

Market development for improved cooking technologies:


Technology standardization for cooking, heating and ventilation:


Indoor air pollution exposure and health monitoring:


Relevant Publications or Studies

S. L. Garrett, P. K. Hopke, and W. H. Behn, "A Research Road Map: Improved Cook Stove Development for Climate Change Mitigation and Women's and Children's Health", Report to the US State Department from the ASEAN-US Next-Generation Cook Stove Workshop (Nov 2009).

S. L. Garrett and S. Backhaus, The power of sound, American Scientist 88(6), 516-525 (2000).

S. Garrett and S. Backhaus, Le son transformé en froid, Pour la Science (French-language version of Scientific American), Dossier N 32, 112-117 (Juil/Oct 2001).

S. L. Garrett, "Resource Letter TA-1: Thermoacoustic engines and refrigerators," Am. J. Phys. 72(1), 11-17 (2004).

Our Contribution to the Partnership

Our participation will provide us with exposure to users and stove developers that will help us make technological decisions that improve stove performance and motivate widespread adoption of improved stoves. It will provide a forum for presenting our results and learning about the progress of other similar co-generation approaches (e.g., thermoelectric or steam).