Starting in 2007, Version 3 of the WBT was evaluated and revised by a subcommittee of Engineers in Technical and Humanitarian Opportunities of Service (ETHOS) under the leadership of Dr. Tami Bond. Through electronic communication, twenty-two people from 11 countries provided input to identify and resolve technical inaccuracies and challenges in the WBT, and recommend emission testing procedures. Their efforts are reflected in the new WBT protocol “Emissions and Efficiency in a Controlled Laboratory Setting.”

The subcommittee findings fell into three groups. (1) Some of the equations yielding key performance criteria were inaccurate. These were evaluated and adjusted according to engineering principles. (2) More guidance for testers was needed to explain the uses of the test. The revised protocol now begins with such a discussion. (3) The test procedure either yielded widely varying results, or did not mimic actual cooking practice. This is one of the main challenges of any testing protocol. There is a natural tension between the reproducibility that is so important in design testing, and representing the diversity of actual practice. The subcommittee incorporated some of the changes that were suggested to enhance reproducibility. Others were identified as key differences between lab and field tests so that testers could make their own decisions. Finally, some discussions were relegated to an Appendix, because there isn’t enough technical understanding to support recommendations.

The PCIA is currently soliciting public review and comments on the WBT Version 4 until 15 December 2009. All comments received will be compiled, assessed and addressed publicly via the PCIA website.

The revised WBT (Version 4) is available for public comment until 15 December 2009 at: www.pciaonline.org/testing/wbtcomment (scroll down to the bottom of that page (below the comments section) to download the consultation version of the method).