Many solutions in the form of Improved Cookstoves (ICS) have been developed, however they have only been affordable to a small proportion of potential users. The vast majority of these ICS are aimed at middle-income users in urban areas who pay for their fuel, with less emphasis placed on giving away stoves to rural dwellers who typically collect firewood at no financial cost, but at considerable inconvenience and risk.
Whilst the household ICS market is saturated, these ICSs have limited use amongst large families and institutions such as schools, restaurants and monasteries, with most users retaining their inefficient traditional stoves to heat water for bathing and to cook for extended families. There are a limited number of commercial solutions in this larger ICS market, such as Envirofit’s EFI-100L stove, but retailing at around $1,000 it is beyond the reach of most, and is poorly rated for emissions.
In Nepal, 87% of energy usage is attributed to burning biomass. There are a limited number of self-built improved institutional stoves constructed from mud/stone/concrete with poorly designed chimneys.
Building on a successful household ICS project, in the Sindhupalchok region of rural Nepal, Live to Love International (L2L) are looking to increase their impact by creating an Institutional ICS that can be used in school and monasteries. This solution must be affordable, be able to be manufactured in Kathmandu and scalable. Institutions are pillars of society in rural Nepal; the beneficiaries of the institutional ICS may inspire others to follow leading to sustainable community development.
Previous work, by Ben Robinson (ESCAP+AID Founder) at the University of Nottingham has resulted in the design and laboratory testing of a prototype novel institutional scale ICS targeted at the Nepali market. Initial results in terms of estimated manufacturing costs, efficiency and emissions testing are promising.
In addition, as part of an established collaboration between Nottingham, Kathmandu University, the Centre for rural Technology (Kathmandu) and the International Centre for Mountain Development (ICIMOD) we have been undertaking real life exposure monitoring using personal air quality monitoring in rural Nepalese homes, and we will extend these studies to allow real life assessment of the institutional cooking stove.
This novel institutional scale ICS also has the added benefit of producing charcoal as the user cooks. Escap+aid is interested in how this can be translated into an entrepreneurial model that can act as a case study for similar projects around the world. Poverty alleviation through developing micro-economics is crucial in achieving the sustainable development goals set out by the UN. Different entrepreneurial models will be piloted which may include parts of charity for the most in need. This project aims to produce a university sponsored research paper that will change the way charity works with regards to cookstove projects.