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Whether they call it a "barbecue" or a "cookout," Americans love backyard cooking. Grilling steaks, hamburgers—even veggie burgers—on a warm summer evening has become such a part of our culture that nearly three out of four adults own at least one grill or smoker.
Now, thanks to scientists at the University of Georgia College of Engineering and a company in nearby Monroe, backyard chefs can reach for a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to petroleum-based charcoal lighter fluids.
Oil - Fluid - Compounds - Taste - Odor
Typically made from crude oil, lighter fluid can emit compounds that leave an unpleasant taste and odor on grilled foods. The new product manufactured by ESCOGO, EcoGreen Charcoal Lighter, is made entirely from plant-based products. It is now available in Home Depot and Target stores nationwide.
While ESCOGO has produced a natural charcoal lighter fluid designed to work on lump charcoal since 2009, the company wanted to offer a formula that worked equally well on charcoal briquettes.
Product - Charcoal - Briquettes - Denser - Fluid
"They had a product that worked great on lump charcoal but briquettes are much denser and the fluid would burn off before getting the briquette hot enough to ignite," said Dan Geller, a research engineer in UGA's College of Engineering. "We needed a product that burned really well and one that met the strict air quality concerns for volatile organic compounds."
The product also had to be...
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