India: Building Efficient Wood-Burning Cookstoves
Nearly 2 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to indoor air pollution from household solid fuel use. It is estimated that 2.7 billion people worldwide live in households in which biomass is burned for cooking. In resource-constrained areas, solid fuels such as wood and animal dung are accessible and economical, and therefore often the only option available to many households. To address indoor air pollution in locales that lack viable alternative fuel sources, it is essential that stove designs emerge which can reduce particulate emissions associated with burning solid fuels. Equally important is to address key cost and user acceptance barriers that will make these stoves attractive in target markets.
Building on the success of the Berkeley-Darfur Stove (potentialenergy.org), the Gadgil Lab at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is working on a design for a forced air cookstove that will reduce particulate (PM2.5) emissions by over 90% compared to a three-stone fire, while keeping costs affordable for the target market and integrating desirable auxiliary features such as charging ports for cell phones and LED lights. By providing an economical, attractive, and highly effective product in the north Indian market, Gadgil Lab aims to make a sustainable impact on the indoor air pollution public health crisis.
The CalStoves team will be engaged in determining end-user priorities and preferences, which will inform the prototyping process and contribute to a final design that is attractive to the target market. They will also perform market research to help determine the location and population most likely to become end-users of the final product, taking into account pricing, fuel availability, and potential willingness to adopt the new technology. They will participate in testing the efficacy of prototypes designed by the client. By gathering market data and assisting evaluation of the Gadgil Lab’s prototypes, the CalStoves team will support a successful integration of the new technology into the north Indian market.