Bonding over barbeque, bluegrass music, and best practices for quality testing
The Alliance is partnering with testing centers around the world to facilitate collaboration on best practices for testing cookstoves and fuels, developing protocols, and ensuring quality and consistency across testing facilities. Together, our goal is to provide high quality testing services and reliable results to cookstoves and fuels organizations around the world. To strengthen this global network, in January, the Alliance organized a training workshop where 40 testing center staff from 16 countries came together in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Cookstoves Testing Facility. The team at EPA welcomed us warmly and introduced us to their facility and to North Carolina traditions.
The participants toured the EPA facilities and identified aspects that could be implemented in their centers. The discussions focused on best practices for establishing and enhancing a testing center, including quality assurance, laboratory management, equipment setup, calibration and maintenance. Participants also made plans for future collaborations, as outlined in the Research Triangle Park Communique written and signed by many of the participants. This meeting was the first time that many of the participants have met in-person. Thus, the week was an opportunity to bond over ducts, filters, and pumps while sharing North Carolina sweet tea and barbeque (with vegetarian options, too!). After singing and performing together at an open mic night, we left North Carolina looking forward to future collaborations.
Workshop presenters have shared their presentations in the online Community of Practice for Testing Laboratories. To reach a wider audience, the Alliance recorded audio and video of key sessions of the training, to be shared more broadly with those who were unable to attend the workshop. The Alliance plans to continue these training workshops on a range of topics including improving testing practices, standardizing testing protocols, fuel testing, and improving stove designs based on testing results.