Module 12: Innovations to Decrease Indoor Air Pollution

Case Studies: Clean Cooking Stoves


The use of efficient clean-burning cooking stoves reduce energy consumption and therefore the time spent gathering fuel. Envirofit stoves use up to 60% less fuel which is believed to equate to 2 months of time collecting fuel and a 15% increase in annual income. In addition, the stoves  reduce CO2 emissions by up to 60% as compared to the traditional stoves used in low- and middle-income countries. Previous stoves were ceramic, but newer models are made of metal, which is stronger and cheaper to produce. The stoves use wood, coal, and crop waste, which are the same materials used in traditional stoves. Envirofit, however, has developed a combustion chamber that uses up to 60% less fuel than other stoves and reduces toxic emissions by up to 80%. The price of the stove is still relatively expensive for families in developing countries who often only live on $2-$5 a day. Envirofit offers microfinance loans to customers. The stoves also pay for themselves within six months due to fuel cost savings. Concurrently, Envirofit stoves drastically reduce toxic indoor air pollution. The stoves have been sold in East Africa, West Africa, Latin America, and Asia.(1)


Aprovecho Research Centre (ARC)’s StoveTec project applies modern engineering to design efficient, clean-burning stoves and fuel. StoveTec was created as a non-profit to promote the use of clean stove technology developed by ARC. Stove Tec stoves use up to 50% less fuel than traditional unimproved stoves or open fires and reduce harmful emissions by up to 70%. StoveTec has shipped over 70,000 stoves over the past two years to India, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, Chile, Argentina, the Marshall Islands, and Haiti.  The challenges of expansion mostly relate to marketing the product and adapting stoves to meet the specific cultural cooking needs of each region. Before the stove can be used, marketers must educate the people about how and why they should use it.(2)

Trees, Water & People

More than 80% of families in Central America cook their meals over open wood fires. Trees, Water & People (TWP), the developer and distributor of clean-burning, high-efficiency cook stoves for the world’s poor, was the 2008 winner of the US$1 million Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability. The stoves developed by TWP and Aprovecho Research Center emit 80% less smoke than open fires, which reduces the risk of respiratory illness for users. The stoves also use up to 70% less wood than traditional open fire stoves, which eases the pressure on local wood supplies. The stoves, which range from the size of a paint can up to the size of an oil drum, can be manufactured using local materials and adapted to meet local cooking customs. Each cookstove decreases a family's need for firewood by up to 70%, as compared to standard open fire cooking, and reduces carbon emissions by approximately 1.5 tons each year. The clean cook stoves were designed to be simple and low-maintenance, and they sell for as little as $5. Today, TWP has local partners in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala as well as with 30 tribes throughout the American West and Great Plains regions.(3)

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(1) Schwartz A. “Envirofit’s $25 Clean-Burning Cooking Stove Is Ready for the Developing World.” Fast Company. (8 July 2009). Accessed on 8 August  2018. See also, Accessed on 8 August 2018.

(2) Climate Action. “Clean-cooking stoves cut carbon, improve life.” (25 March 2010). Accessed on 8 August 2018. See also, “Stove Tec Biomass Cookstoves.” Accessed on 8 August 2018.

(3) Markham D. “Clean Cook Stoves Fueled by Million Dollar Prize.” Green Living Ideas. (10 September 2009). Accessed on 8 August 2018. See also, “Trees, Water & People.” Accessed on 8 August 2018.