We are working to make biomass-burning cookstoves truly affordable in developing countries.
This is the Ganesha Cookstove. It burns wood, dung, and any other biomass. It weighs 1.8kg (4 lbs) and, disassembled, fits in a FedEx envelope.
It is also incredibly powerful. It can boil 5 liters of water (1.3 gals) in 12 minutes, putting out 10.6kW (36,000 Btus), and then turn down to a simmer. Third-party testing shows that its efficiency and emissions are significantly better than market leading cookstoves.
Over 2 billion people cook on smoky, inefficient open fires every day. Cookstoves can greatly improve both efficiency and performance, and researchers have been working for 40 years to develop and promote them. But, consumers in developing countries have been very slow to adopt clean cookstoves. We think we know why.
Market-leading cookstoves are too expensive, retailing for $25 to $100 -- a fortune for families living on a dollar or two a day. We found that it's possible to get the same level of performance (or better) at a significantly lower price, while also making the stoves extremely portable. Enough so that they can be inexpensively flown into disaster areas as part of humanitarian efforts.
We are working with NGOs, relief agencies, manufacturers, and consumers to produce and distribute the cookstoves. Our model is a social enterprise company with a triple bottom line: benefits for consumers, for the planet, and for impact investors.
In February 2016, we took 32 of our first-generation stoves to the village of Brabal, Nepal. The village was hard-hit by the earthquakes that struck the country in April and May, 2015, demolishing every house in the village. They graciously agreed to use our stoves and provide feedback. They had praise for the stoves, and gave us some key ways to improve them. We were then able to revamp the design, making it bigger, simpler, stronger, more powerful and easier to use.
We contracted with the Regional Cookstoves Testing and Knowledge Centre in Kathmandu, an internationally-certified testing lab, to test our stove using accepted protocols. Key results included:
- Efficiency as high as 39%
- Heat output as high as 10.6kW (36,000 Btus), providing the ability to boil 5 liters of water (1.3 gals) in 12 minutes
- CO emissions extremely low (Tier 4)
- PM 2.5 emissions on par with competitors
See our Testing page for more detailed information.
Next steps include working with manufacturers to meet our needs for pricing, materials and quality; connecting with potential customers, in both the nonprofit/NGO space and in the marketplace; and continuing to improve the design to focus on the intersection of performance, clean burning, and usability.
See our What's Next page for more info.