Reducing emissions while providing health and economic benefits to families

What is a clean cooking stove?

Clean cooking stoves come in all shapes, sizes, and designs! The primary goal of a clean cooking stove is to reduce the amount of polluting and harmful fuels that households use every day to put food on the table. While each stove design is different, it is made to ensure maximum efficiency, or in some cases, complete elimination of common fuels such as firewood, coal, kerosene, dried animal waste, and more.

By maximizing the efficiency of a stove, the normal materials that are available and used by households are more fully burned up in the combustion process. This means that the quantity of harmful by-products and emissions released into the air is dramatically reduced. The result is less indoor air pollution and smoke, reducing impacts not only on climate change, but also preventing serious health complications and premature deaths within families. In addition to these environmental and health benefits, fuel efficient cooking stoves help prevent further destruction of nearby forests. They also mean less time spent collecting fuelwood or income spent purchasing coal or charcoal. The result is more time and savings for new economic opportunities!

A man sitting in front of a traditional cooking stove in Nepal

Where is a clean cooking stove appropriate?

Nearly three billion people worldwide are using harmful fuels for cooking on open fires within the home[1] Clean cooking stoves are appropriate in homes that do not have a connection to electricity or natural gas. In many remote and low-income communities around the world, families rely on the collection of fuelwoods from nearby forests or purchasing cheap energy solutions like coal. On top of using these unclean sources, many families have kitchens inside the home with minimal ventilation. The result is an inefficient, unhealthy and dangerous cooking environment.

In short, clean cooking stoves are applicable anywhere that inefficient and polluting cooking means are being used.  However, the type (or style) of clean cooking stove depends on many factors, such as the materials readily available, the climate, and the supply chain in the region. Through ClimateCare, Renewable World are supporting projects that employ two different clean cook stove designs: A parabolic solar cooker design in China and a more energy-efficient version of the traditional stove design in Nepal.

The solar-powered cooker uses a dish (similar to what is used to capture satellite television). This dish concentrates solar radiation onto a cooking stand, and the result is a completely emissions-free and sustainable stovetop for daytime cooking needs such as breakfast and lunch. The typical savings from this technology amount to roughly $150 per year, or 10% of an average household income.

In Nepal, the clean cooking stove design makes use of innovative adaptations to traditional stoves that families are used to, by adapting things like the combustion compartment or insulation. The result is an improvement of the efficiency of burning traditional fuel sources (such as wood or charcoal) by roughly 43%. While not entirely emissions-free, these low-cost adaptations mean significantly less indoor air pollution and smoke, reducing impacts on climate change and ultimately preventing serious health complications and premature deaths within families. It also means using less material, reducing the amount of deforestation in the region and providing more time to families previously spent collecting firewood.

How does a clean cooking stove really work?

Each clean cooking stove works differently! At Renewable World, we are using solar cookers and energy-efficient designs of traditional charcoal stoves; however, Clean Cooking Alliance has a tremendous resource via their Clean Cooking Catalogue that depicts the many varieties of stoves, how they work, and their performance. Visit their website to read about the different types of clean cooking stoves. Visit their online catalogue for an in-depth exploration of the many products and designs that can be used by communities around the world. This includes designs related to solar cookers and energy efficient charcoal stoves like the ones we are supporting!