The Smokeless Cookstove Revolution
Waging war on Household Air Pollution by showing people how to make their own smokeless cookstovesRussell Collins
According to World Health Organization estimates, and more than 800 million people are impacted by exposure to HAP (Household Air Pollution), with more than 4 million dying from this each year.
Exposure to the polluting smoke from cooking fires is linked to dramatic health impacts which account for more deaths than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
Due to their long exposures every day inside the home near the cooking stove, women and young children are particularly at risk.
There are a few alternative smokeless cookstove options and programs attempting to share their solutions with varying degrees of success. Many of these stoves are manufactured products that cost significant amounts to produce, distribute, train to use, maintain and service. As a result, many fail or have limited ability to scale up to any significant degree.
Our idea is based on the simple premise... "give a woman a fish, her family eats for a day, teach her to fish and her family eats for life".
We have developed a smokeless cookstove that can be made by anyone with readily available materials (dirt, clay, straw, water and a puffed grain).
The trick is in the design and the addition of an aerating product such as puffed grain being mixed into the clay. In simple terms we teach people how to make insulated burn tubes that are highly efficient due to their ability to burn smoke, resulting in a clean burn which requires far less fuel than a conventional stove.
We are now in the process of training workshop leaders to run workshops in towns and villages, teaching anyone interested in how to make these stoves.
They are too simple and too effective to not be used. Not only are they relatively smokeless (about 90% less than usual), they are also highly efficient using about 25% of the fuel of a conventional cookstove.
The other advantage of people making their own stoves is they can be tailored to suit each family's particular situation and cultural context. One of the reasons many stove projects fail is that they try to implement a 'one size fits all' approach.
These stoves can be re-designed, re-shaped, adjusted, modified and adapted to suit countless situations. This is easily the simplest and most cost effective way to spread the smokeless cookstove concept to the largest amount of people.