USC students clean Alaska air pollution with “Chimney Cherries”

Viterbi students in Alaska

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching the sun rise over a smog-filled Los Angeles, you might think our air quality is the worst in the country. Guess again. Try Fairbanks, Alaska, population 30,000. Named in 2018 as “the most polluted city in the nation,” Fairbanks is miles away from major city centers, yet boasts a cloud of smoke that could put huge metropolises to shame.

The culprit? Wood burning stoves.

This smoke caught the attention of an interdisciplinary team of USC students, who are working on solutions to cold-climate sustainability issues. They’ve come up with schematics for a “Chimney Cherry” that filters out smoke particulates, resulting in a cleaner burn — a literal smoke screen.

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