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The Improved Biomass Stove Saves Wood,But How Often Do People Use It?

2 July 2015 12:00 (America/New_York)

The Improved Biomass Stove Saves Wood, But How Often Do People Use It? Evidence from a Randomized Treatment Trial in Ethiopia. World Bank.

Authors: Abebe D. Beyene, Randall Bluffstone, et al.

This paper uses a randomized experimental design and real-time electronic stove use monitors to evaluate the frequency with which villagers use improved biomass-burning Mirt injera cookstoves in rural Ethiopia. Understanding whether, how much, and why improved cookstoves are used is important, because use of the improved stove is a critical determinant of indoor air pollution reductions, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions due to lower fuelwood consumption. Confirming use is, for example, a critical aspect of crediting improved cookstoves’ climate change benefits under the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Programme.

The paper finds that Ethiopian households in the study area do use the Mirt stove on a regular basis, taking into account regional differences in cooking patterns. In general, stove users also use their Mirt stoves more frequently over time. Giving the Mirt stove away for free and supporting community-level user networks are estimated to lead to more use. The study found no evidence, however, that stove recipients use the stoves more if they have to pay for them, a hypothesis that frequently arises in policy arenas and has also been examined in the literature.



July 7, 2015 Webinar – Cooking with Ethanol: Benefits, key challenges, and lessons learned

2 July 2015 11:51 (America/New_York)

EPA and Winrock International webinar – Cooking with Ethanol: Benefits, key challenges, and lessons learned

  • Date – Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
  • Time – 10:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time
  • Registration link

About the speakers:                                                                      ​

Mr. Gaston Kremer Gaston
Kremer is Project Manager at Green Social Bioethanol supporting development of rural innovative flex bioethanol micro distilleries. He is the bridge between international organizations, NGOs and the local communities in which Green brings expertise and innovation to foster the Social Bioethanol concept. He has developed projects in Guyana, Uruguay, Nigeria, Mozambique and many other countries were the ethanol micro distillery technology is being applied.

Ms. Hilary Landfried
Hilary Landfried is a Project Manager at Project Gaia. She manages daily operations and resources in Tanzania, oversees pilot studies for new market development, and coordinates ethanol feasibility studies. Hilary serves as a first contact for new partners.

Ms. Brady Luceno
Brady Luceno is the Assistant Director at Project Gaia and manages the daily operations and resources of projects in Ethiopia, Brazil, and Haiti. Brady helps to lead the development of Project Gaia’s strategy in its humanitarian and commercialization projects, coordinating with field teams and key partners including U.S. EPA, UNHCR and UN Foundation.

Mr. Ted Örbrink
Ted Örbrink is the CEO of CLEANCOOK Sweden AB and has over 12 years of experience in off-grid energy products for the developing world. Ted led the Cleancook alcohol stoves product line for Dometic Group, a multinational manufacturer and supplier of off-grid technology; in 2015, a new and independent company CLEANCOOK acquired the entire Cleancook business and related assets. As CEO of CLEANCOOK, Ted continues to promote clean, efficient, and durable off-grid technology, working closely with entrepreneurs, humanitarian organizations and non-profits.

Mr. Daniel Seals
Daniel Seals is the Director of Development at Project Gaia and works to drive international project development and strengthen Project Gaia’s relationships with partners around the globe. He also helps to manage the daily operations, funding and brand engagement. Dan has experience in finance and institutional development.

Ms. Anna Wikman
Since 2011 Anna Wikman has been designing and implementing high-impact green growth and development projects in Sweden, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. Her work experience includes diverse sectors like sustainable energy solutions for urban Ethiopian women, land management of Gambella region, retail logistics using mobile money, SME development and micro finance. She most recently worked with Stockholm Environment Institute on mapping challenges and opportunities for scaling ethanol as a cooking fuel for the household sector and currently works at the World Bank as a Green Growth Specialist.

Evaluation of Baseline and Improved Institutional Cookstoves for kitchen air pollution and fuel consumption in Jimma University

2 July 2015 11:34 (America/New_York)

Evaluation of Baseline and Improved Institutional Cookstoves for kitchen air pollution and fuel consumption in Jimma University, 2015.  Ethio Resource Group.

The cooking comparison tests conducted in JIT with the baseline stoves (Three stone open fire) and the improved stoves shows that the improved stoves reduce fuel consumption by about 87%, CO and PM2.5 concentration levels in the kitchen by 77%, and cooking time by 19%. It was also observed that the cooks very much liked the improved stoves for their convenience to cook with. The cooks also commented that the improved stoves help to keep the kitchen clean and hygienic as there was literally no smoke and soot to spoil the food and make running nose and watery eyes.

The size of the improved stoves was, however, commented as one of their limitations. The improved stoves come only with 60 and 100 liter sizes while most of the cooking in JIT is with 200 liter pots. Replacement of one baseline stove requires two 100 liter improved stoves. This will have implication on the number of cooks needed. One cook normally works on two baseline stoves. With the improved stoves, one cook needs to work on four stoves or more cooks are required. Despite this limitation, the cooks preferred to work on the improved stoves as cooler and smokeless kitchen helped them maintain their strength throughout the day


Why do households forego high returns from technology adoption? Evidence from improved cooking stoves in Burkina Faso

30 June 2015 9:10 (America/New_York)

Why do households forego high returns from technology adoption? Evidence from improved cooking stoves in Burkina FasoJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization, August 2015.

Authors: Gunther Bensch, Michael Grimm, Jörg Peters


  • The assessed improved stove effectively saves 20–28 percent of firewood.
  • These savings imply an annual return of investment of more than 300 percent.
  • In spite of these high returns adoption rates are very low.
  • Our findings suggest that liquidity constraints are the main barrier to adoption.
  • Contrary to conventional wisdom, cultural traits do not seem to play an important role.

Around 3 billion people in developing countries rely on woodfuels for their daily cooking needs with profound negative implications for their workload, health, and budget as well as the environment. Improved cooking stove (ICS) technologies appear to be an obvious solution in many cases.

Indeed we find that users of a very simple ICS in urban Burkina Faso need between 20 and 30 percent less firewood compared to traditional stoves, making the investment highly profitable. In spite of these high returns and great efforts made by the international community to disseminate ICSs, take-up rates are – similar to many other high-return innovations – strikingly low; in our case a mere 10 percent.

When exploring adoption decisions of households, we find suggestive evidence that a major deterrent to adoption is the upfront investment costs. They seem to be much more important than access to information, taste preferences, or the woman’s role in the household.

These findings suggest that perhaps more direct promotion strategies such as subsidies would help households to overcome liquidity constraints, and would hence improve adoption rates.



Alleviating Deforestation Pressures? Impacts of Improved Stove Dissemination on Charcoal Consumption in Urban Senegal

30 June 2015 9:01 (America/New_York)

Alleviating Deforestation Pressures? Impacts of Improved Stove Dissemination on Charcoal Consumption in Urban Senegal. Land Economics, Nov 2013.

Authors: Gunther Bensch and Jörg Peters

With 2.7 billion people relying on woodfuel for cooking in developing countries, the dissemination of improved cooking stoves (ICSs) is frequently considered an effective instrument to combat deforestation, particularly in arid countries. This paper evaluates the impacts of an ICS dissemination project in urban Senegal on charcoal consumption, using data collected among 624 households.

The virtue of our data is that it allows for rigorously estimating charcoal savings by accounting for both household characteristics and meal-specific cooking patterns. We find average savings of 25% per dish. In total, the intervention reduces Senegalese charcoal consumption by around 1%.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Secondary to Household Air Pollution

25 June 2015 11:35 (America/New_York)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Secondary to Household Air Pollution. Semin Respir Crit Care Med 2015; 36(03): 408-421.

Authors: Nour A. Assad, John Balmes, Sumi Mehta, Umar Cheema, Akshay Sood

Approximately 3 billion people around the world cook and heat their homes using solid fuels in open fires and rudimentary stoves, resulting in household air pollution. Household air pollution secondary to indoor combustion of solid fuel is associated with multiple chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) outcomes. The exposure is associated with both chronic bronchitis and emphysema phenotypes of COPD as well as a distinct form of obstructive airway disease called bronchial anthracofibrosis. COPD from household air pollution differs from COPD from tobacco smoke with respect to its disproportionately greater bronchial involvement, lesser emphysematous change, greater impact on quality of life, and possibly greater oxygen desaturation and pulmonary hypertensive changes. Interventions that decrease exposure to biomass smoke may decrease the risk for incident COPD and attenuate the longitudinal decline in lung function, but more data on exposure–response relationships from well-designed longitudinal studies are needed.

How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies?

25 June 2015 11:31 (America/New_York)

How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies? 2015. International Monetary Fund.

Prepared by David Coady, Ian Parry, Louis Sears, and Baoping Shang

This paper provides a comprehensive, updated picture of energy subsidies at the global and regional levels. It focuses on the broad notion of post-tax energy subsidies, which arise when consumer prices are below supply costs plus a tax to reflect environmental damage and an additional tax applied to all consumption goods to raise government revenues.

Post-tax energy subsidies are dramatically higher than previously estimated and are projected to remain high. These subsidies primarily reflect underpricing from a domestic (rather than global) perspective, so that unilateral price reform is in countries’ own interests. The potential fiscal, environmental, and welfare impacts of energy subsidy reform are substantial.

Establishing integrated rural–urban cohorts to assess air pollution-related health effects in pregnant women, children and adults in Southern India

25 June 2015 11:26 (America/New_York)

Establishing integrated rural–urban cohorts to assess air pollution-related health effects in pregnant women, children and adults in Southern India: an overview of objectives, design and methods in the Tamil Nadu Air Pollution and Health Effects (TAPHE) study. BMJ Open, June 2015.

Authors: Kalpana Balakrishnan, Sankar Sambandam, et al,

We describe study protocols for The Tamil Nadu Air Pollution and Health Effects (TAPHE) study, which aims to examine the association between fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposures and select maternal, child and adult health outcomes in integrated rural–urban cohorts.

Methods and analyses – The TAPHE study is organised into five component studies with participants drawn from a pregnant mother–child cohort and an adult cohort (n=1200 participants in each cohort). Exposures are assessed through serial measurements of 24–48 h PM2.5 area concentrations in household microenvironments together with ambient measurements and time-activity recalls, allowing exposure reconstructions. Generalised additive models will be developed to examine the association between PM2.5 exposures, maternal (birth weight), child (acute respiratory infections) and adult (chronic respiratory symptoms and lung function) health outcomes while adjusting for multiple covariates.


The effect of marketing messages and payment over time on willingness to pay for fuel-efficient cookstoves

25 June 2015 11:18 (America/New_York)

The effect of marketing messages and payment over time on willingness to pay for fuel-efficient cookstovesJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization, June 2015.

Authors: Theresa Beltramo, Garrick Blalock, David I. Levine, Andrew M. Simons

• We estimate willingness to pay for cookstove technologies using Vickrey second-price auctions.
• Vickrey second price auction experiments have poor predictive validity of actual purchase behavior.
• There is no consistent evidence that information on product attributes improved willingness to pay.
• Adding time payments significantly increases willingness to pay.
• Being female has large negative effects on willingness to pay.

Smoke from inefficient biomass cookstoves contributes to global climate change and kills approximately four million people per year. Cooking technologies, such as manufactured fuel-efficient cookstoves, that mitigate the negative effects of traditional cookstoves exist, but adoption rates are low. The international development community debates whether this low adoption of fuel-efficient cookstoves is due to a lack of adequate product information or due to household financial constraints. We ran Vickery second-price auctions in rural Uganda to elicit willingness to pay for fuel-efficient cookstoves, comparing the effect of informational marketing messages and time payments on willingness to pay. A randomized trial tested the following marketing messages: “This stove can improve health,” “This stove can save time and money,” and both messages combined. None of the messages consistently increased willingness to pay. In a second experiment we compared willingness to pay for two different contracts, one with payment due within a week and one with equal installment payments over 4 weeks. Consistent with household financial constraints, time payments raised willingness to pay by 40%.

The State of the Global Clean and Improved Cooking Sector

25 June 2015 11:12 (America/New_York)

The State of the Global Clean and Improved Cooking Sector, 2015. ESMAP; Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

A. KEY FINDINGS The following section summarizes the key findings discussed fully in Chapters 1 through 7.

The Case for Clean and Improved Cooking
The global solid fuel population is large and access to clean and improved cooking solutions is limited. Approximately 40% of developing world households use clean fuels and cookstoves as their primary cooking solution, including modern fuels such as LPG and electricity; renewable solutions such as biogas, ethanol, and solar; and advanced biomass gasifiers stove technologies.1 Of the more than 2.85 billion people who rely primarily on solid fuels, less than one-third use improved cookstoves (ICSs) and even these households predominantly rely on basic ICS that have limited health and environmental benefits.

Reliance on solid fuels and inefficient and polluting cookstoves costs the world dearly. The midrange economic value of the health, environmental, and economic effects of solid fuel dependence is a staggering $ 123 billion annually ($ 22–224 billion), with multiple underlying effects:

• Economic: significant spending of $ 38–40 billion annually on solid fuels for cooking and heating, of which a significant share is avoidable; 140 million potentially productive person-years annually wasted on biomass fuel collection and avoidable cooking time

• Health: at least 4.3 million premature deaths annually and 110 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)4 resulting from household air pollution (HAP), including lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancers, heart disease, and cataracts; many additional health harms not quantified include asthma, tuberculosis, adverse pregnancy outcomes, depression, bacterial meningitis, a variety of moderate-to-severe physical injuries associated with firewood collection, burns, widespread minor ailments from smoke inhalation such as eye irritation and headaches, and the emerging concerns about the harms of kerosene cooking

• Environment: substantial emissions from solid fuel use and charcoal production of 0.5–1.2 billion MT in carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent of Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gases (up to 3% of annual global CO2 emissions) and 25% of global black carbon emissions; consumption of ~1.36 billion tons of woodfuel across the developing world, with contribution to forest degradation and deforestation most likely from charcoal production in Africa and Asia.

• Gender equity and other social impacts: disproportionate risks of negative HAP-linked health outcomes and physical injury for women and girls, given their proximity to cooking fires and primary responsibility for firewood collection in many cultures; decreased educational opportunities for children involved in fuel collection; impaired nutrition because of the diversion of resources to fuel purchases; and home environments damaged by smoke and soot

A range of technologies can mitigate these harmful effects, but only the cleanest cooking solutions hold the potential for truly transformational impacts on health and environmental outcomes. The potential benefits of improved and clean cooking solutions vary greatly by impact objective, cooking technology, quality of the specific cookstove, and consumer willingness to adopt the solution vis-à-vis baseline cooking technologies. There is no universally applicable technological answer to addressing the harms of solid fuel cooking. A range of ICS technologies, including low-cost basic ICS, can generate attractive fuel savings and other important economic co-benefits such as time savings for households and job creation opportunities for basic ICS manufacturing. Health benefits are the most difficult impact to achieve since they require the thorough replacement of traditional stoves with clean modern fuels, such as LPG and electricity, or renewable solutions, such as biogas. For biomass cooking, pending further evidence from the field, significant health benefits are possible only with the highest quality fan gasifier stoves; more moderate health impacts may be realized with natural draft gasifiers and vented intermediate ICS (e.g., Onil and Patsari stoves in Central America; Rocket Lorena and brick rocket stoves in Africa).

Identifying behavioural drivers of cookstove use: a household study in Kibera, Nairobi

25 June 2015 11:02 (America/New_York)

Identifying behavioural drivers of cookstove use: a household study in Kibera, Nairobi, 2015. Stockholm Environment Institute.

Authors: Fiona Lambe,  Jacqueline Senyagwa

This paper presents findings from the first phase of an ongoing case study to identify some key influences on behaviour related to energy use and the uptake of alternative clean cookstoves in households in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Nairobi.

One key reason for the lack of progress is that cookstove technology and programme developers often fail to properly take account of key drivers of behaviour related to cookstove and fuel choice, most notably the needs and preferences of the end-users. Understanding these drivers is challenging because individual behaviour is influenced by a combination of factors linked to culture, values, tradition, psychology, aesthetic preferences and emotions. Understanding the role of drivers of behaviour is difficult, partly because people often have trouble verbalising their thoughts and feelings around them.

Researchers at SEI have, in recent years, been working to develop and test tools and methods to help access this information and better understand the processes that shape individual behaviour and choice. This study is an extension of that work, and used a generative approach in which cultural probes – in this case disposable cameras – were used in combination with open-ended interviews in 26 households to learn about the socio-cultural context in Kibera.

Based on the insights gathered, the authors identify some obstacles to and opportunities for households to shift to clean, safe, household-cooking alternatives. The report also reflects on the usefulness of cultural probes for eliciting highly contextual socio-cultural information in a setting like Kibera.

Defining and Measuring ‘Adoption’ of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels

8 June 2015 11:31 (America/New_York)

Defining and Measuring ‘Adoption’ of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels, Lima, Peru, May 4 and 5, 2015.

How do we define and measure “adoption” of clean cookstoves and fuels?

This was the key question that brought together over 75 stakeholders from implementing agencies, carbon project developers, government ministries, NGOs, international organizations, evaluators, and research/academia in Lima, Peru on May 4 and 5.

The event, co-hosted by the Alliance, the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, the USAID Translating Research into Action (TRAction) Project, and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, focused on how to move beyond distribution and instead hone in on defining and measuring progress on adoption of clean cooking technologies. The workshop included sharing results of recent adoption studies, highlighting recently published evidence on the role of behavior change communication and gender in enabling adoption, and discussing techniques and tools for measuring stove use. Intensive working sessions focused on defining adoption and developing a practical framework for implementers to measure and evaluate the range of potential benefits that can be achieved through the adoption of clean cooking solutions.

An overarching message that emerged from the workshop was that adoption is a function of social, economic, and policy factors. Developing frameworks that take this into account will enable a better characterization of “adoption,” as well as its key drivers and determinants. In addition, ensuring sustained user acceptance is key to ensuring a thriving market for clean cookstoves and fuels.  Strategies to promote behavior change at the community and individual level will be critical to success.

The Alliance will hold a public consultation period to gather further stakeholder feedback this summer.  The definition and framework will be finalized at the Clean Cooking Forum 2015 in Accra, Ghana in November.


Caregiver perception of sleep-disordered breathing-associated symptoms in children of rural Andean communities above 4000 masl with chronic exposure to biomass fuel

8 June 2015 11:27 (America/New_York)

Caregiver perception of sleep-disordered breathing-associated symptoms in children of rural Andean communities above 4000 masl with chronic exposure to biomass fuelSleep Med. 2015 Jun;16(6):723-8. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2015.02.536.

Authors: Accinelli RA1, Llanos O2, López LM2, Matayoshi S2, Oros YP2, Kheirandish-Gozal L3, Gozal D4.

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have uncovered a very high prevalence of sleep disorders in general, and of sleep-disordered breathing in particular among children exposed to indoor biomass fuel pollution. However, despite the significant symptomatology, parents are unlikely to report these issues during health-care visits.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine whether reduced caregiver perception of sleep disorders may account for the infrequent diagnosis and treatment of such problems in children residing at high altitudes and exposed to high biomass pollution.

METHODS: Parents of children aged 9-15 years of three communities residing in the Pasco region in Peru located between 3800 and 4200 meters above sea level were surveyed using a validated questionnaire instrument focused on symptoms associated with sleep-disordered breathing as well as whether caregivers perceived that their child suffered from a sleep disorder.

RESULTS: Among the 77 children included, 48.1% had nocturnal awakenings and 46.8% had repetitive movements and restless sleep. Habitual snoring was present in 33.8% of all children. However, only 10.4% of mothers considered that their children had sleep problems, and all of their children had positive answers for ≥4 sleep symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Children residing at high altitudes and exposed to traditional biomass-fueled stoves exhibit an extremely high frequency of sleep symptoms that are misperceived by their mothers as being “normal.” Interventions aimed at increasing parental recognition and awareness of sleep problems will be essential to foster improved diagnosis and treatment.

PM2.5 in household kitchens of Bhaktapur, Nepal, using four different cooking fuels

8 June 2015 11:19 (America/New_York)

PM2.5 in household kitchens of Bhaktapur, Nepal, using four different cooking fuelsAtmospheric Environment 113 (2015) 159e168.

Authors: Amod K. Pokhrel, Michael N. Bates, Jiwan Achary, et al.

In studies examining the health effects of household air pollution (HAP), lack of affordable monitoring devices often precludes collection of actual air pollution data, forcing use of exposure indicators, such as type of cooking fuel used. Among the most important pollutants is fine particulate matter (PM2.5), perhaps the best single indicator of risk from smoke exposure. In this study, we deployed an affordable and robust device to monitor PM2.5 in 824 households in Bhaktapur, Nepal.

Four primary cooking fuels were used in roughly equal proportions in these households: electricity (22%), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) (29%), kerosene (23%), and biomass (26%). PM2.5 concentrations were measured in the kitchens using a light-scattering nephelometer, the UCB-PATS (University of California, Berkeley-Particle and Temperature monitoring System). The major predictors of PM2.5 concentrations in study households were investigated. The UCB-PATS results were well correlated with the gravimetric results (R2 ¼ 0.84; for all fuels combined).

The mean household PM2.5 concentrations across all seasons of the year were 656 (standard deviation (SD):924) mg/m3 from biomass; 169 (SD: 207) mg/m3 from kerosene; 101 (SD: 130) mg/m3 from LPG; and 80 (SD: 103) mg/m3 from electric stoves. In the multivariate regression of PM2.5 measures, compared with electric stoves, use of LPG, kerosene and biomass stoves were associated with increased indoor PM2.5 concentrations of 65% (95% CI: 38e95%), 146% (103e200%), and 733% (589 e907%), respectively. The UCB-PATS performed well in the field. Biomass fuel stoves without flues were the most significant sources of PM2.5, followed by kerosene and then LPG stoves. Outdoor PM2.5, and season influenced indoor PM2.5 levels. Results support careful use of inexpensive light-scattering monitors for monitoring of HAP in developing countries.

Wireless Stove Use Monitors (wSUMs) for Remotely Measuring Cookstove Usage

8 June 2015 11:14 (America/New_York)

Wireless Stove Use Monitors (wSUMs) for Remotely Measuring Cookstove Usage: Vodafone Project “100 Million Stoves”Final Report: May,  2015.

Authors: Ilse Ruiz-MercadoJenny Eav, Pablo Venegas, Mayur Vaswani, Tracy Allen, Dana Charron, Kirk R. Smith

The objective of this project was to build a wireless sensor platform to verify stove use and enable smart monitoring of large-scale stove projects. The main expected market was investors and disseminators planning to tap funding in what was, at the time, a rapidly emerging carbon market in the past ten years. Expanding on previous implementations of non-wireless Stove Use Monitors (SUMs), the aim of this project was to develop a wireless version that could be deployed in a carefully selected subsample across millions of households to verify use in a statistically valid manner and provide information valuable to dissemination programs, donors, and investors.

Before the SUMs, the methods available for determining adoption dynamics and use rates were limited to standard survey methods that relied on user’s recall or observations that are often intrusive, imprecise and expensive to carry out as they require frequent visits to the households. The standard type of SUMs are small metal buttons attached to stoves to datalog temperature changes over several months. Their data had to be downloaded to a computer by physical contact (e.g. data cable) and later the data files managed and analyzed. These non-wireless SUMs provide objective, quantitative and unobtrusive measures of stove use that have themselves revolutionized understanding of stove adoption and usage. They do, however, require significant resources to analyze the data and cannot be scaled to millions because they still require household visits.

Our project evolved to develop wireless Stove Use Monitors (wSUMs) in which summary statistics of usage are transmitted to a handheld reader via a short-range wireless technique. The reader is carried by someone in the village making a monthly walk through. The summary usage instantaneously displayed does not require further analysis and can be uploaded to a central data repository. Extensive testing and modification through several versions occurred by an interactive process involving lab and simulated testing in Berkeley and several villages in Mexico and India. A number of technical obstacles, including those related to battery life, radio range, and efficient data algorithms were addressed. A thermal electric option (i.e. thermoelectric generator) was deployed for providing power for the wSUMs at the stove, but this proved to be inadequate and was abandoned.

After a working technology was in hand, a business canvas was conducted to evaluate the potential for a sustainable business model for the wSUMS. Unfortunately, in the years immediately after the project started, the combination of the global economic downturn and the near collapse of the official carbon market, greatly reduced what had seemed to be a potential large demand for hands-off stove monitoring at large scale for stove carbon projects.

In addition, two other wireless sensing technologies came onto the scene, each, however, focused on use of cell phones for real time monitoring from any distance, a route that we did not take and thus are not direct competitors. As we complete this report, however, there is perhaps an entirely new business opportunity through the growing recognition in the international clean stove community that interventions are most effective if pursued at the community (village) level, in combination with several national programs being promulgated. Our “walk-through” system would seem ideally suited for such an application.

WHO – Health and the environment: addressing the health impact of air pollution

8 June 2015 11:09 (America/New_York)

Health and the environment: addressing the health impact of air pollution, April 2015. World Health Organization.

Excerpts – The present report describes the links between air pollution and health, and outlines some strategies for prevention, control and mitigation of the adverse effects of air pollution on health, including coordinated action between the health and other sectors.

Air pollution is one of the main avoidable causes of disease and death globally. About 4.3 million deaths each year, most in developing countries, are associated with exposure to household(indoor) air pollution. A further 3.7 million deaths a year are attributed to ambient (outdoor) air pollution.

More than half the deaths due to pneumonia in children aged under five years are attributed to household air pollution, making it a leading factor putting children’s health at risk. Cohort studies also have reported significant associations between air pollution and lung function development, respiratory infections and asthma in young children. There is also consistent evidence of the association between exposure to air pollution with birth outcomes, including low birthweight, preterm birth and small for gestational age births.




Alliance Convenes Group of Global Researchers Examining the Impacts of Clean Cooking on Children’s Health

29 May 2015 9:51 (America/New_York)

Alliance Convenes Group of Global Researchers Examining the Impacts of Clean Cooking on Children’s Health, March 2015.

How much can clean cookstoves and fuels reduce incidence of pneumonia in children?
Does using clean cooking technologies and fuels during pregnancy boost birth weights?

These were two of the many questions under discussion by 30 leading global public health researchers during a three-day meeting to discuss how clean cooking impacts children’s health. The Child Survival Workshop, co-hosted by the Alliance and Johns Hopkins University, provided experts with an opportunity to exchange lessons from the field and to take a first look at early results of ongoing research evaluating the child health benefits of clean cookstoves and fuels.

“When you get this many committed researchers together working on the same topic, there’s an incredible amount of learning taking place,” said Dr. Sola Olopade, Professor of Medicine at University of Chicago and Principal Investigator of the Nigeria research trial. “After seeing the preliminary results of the many ongoing studies, I think we’re making significant progress on how much changing to a clean cookstove or fuel can improve a child’s health.”

Dr. Darby Jack, Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, is working on another of the Alliance-supported studies that seek to better understand the potential impacts of clean cookstoves and fuels on birth outcomes and child survival in Ghana.  “By measuring the impact of adopting clean cooking during pregnancy on birth weight and childhood pneumonia, we’re hoping to determine how large-scale interventions that target pregnancy can improve health,” said Jack. “We hypothesize that birth weight will increase with the clean cooking interventions, and that the incidence of pneumonia will decrease in the first year of life.” Results of the study are expected by the end of the year.

The studies, underway in Ghana, Nepal and Nigeria, are some of the first in which truly clean technologies are being evaluated, and they expect to measure the magnitude of health impacts that can be attributed to higher particulate matter reductions due to clean cookstove and fuel interventions.


Building Inclusive Energy Markets – Boiling Point, Issue 65

26 May 2015 10:32 (America/New_York)

Building Inclusive Energy MarketsBoiling Point, Issue 65 2015.

Boiling Point ‘Building Inclusive Energy Markets’ in partnership with Guest Editors: Shell Foundation is the global practioners’ journal’s 65th issue. Articles are available online below and the full issue will shortly be available in full PDF form and in hard copy. This issue has brought together a wealth of expert knowledge and opinion on energy markets with the hard work and valuable contributions from several authors, peer reviewers and editors.

Theme Articles

General Articles

  • Household scale peanut shell briquette productionAuthors: Jessica Tryner, Jess W.Everett, Hong Zhang. The following article is a study report where briquettes were produced from peanut shells using three different methods for preparing the peanut shell material and four different devices used to… [more]
  • Predicting sustained use of improved charcoal stoves in Haiti. Authors: Olivier D. C. Lefebvre, Li Wang. Once people have made the step to acquire an improved cookstove (ICS), long term sustained use is key to reaping all the potential benefits of a cleaner and more efficient stove. However evidence… [more]



Estimation of Organic and Elemental Carbon Emitted from Wood Burning in Traditional and Improved Cookstoves Using Controlled Cooking Test

26 May 2015 9:55 (America/New_York)

Estimation of Organic and Elemental Carbon Emitted from Wood Burning in Traditional and Improved Cookstoves Using Controlled Cooking Test. Env Sci Technol, May 2015.

Authors: Pooja Arora and Suresh Jain

Emission of various climate- and health-related pollutant species from solid biomass burning in traditional cookstoves is a global concern. Improved cookstoves serve as a possible solution to mitigate the associated impacts. However, there is a need to intensify the efforts in order to increase the data availability and promote revision of existing metrics of cookstove testing.

In this study, the effect of different phases of a cooking cycle of Northern India on emission factors of OC and EC (char and soot) was assessed for four cookstoves (advanced, improved, and traditional) using Acacia nilotica. Lowest EFs for OC (0.04 g/MJ) and EC (0.02 g/MJ) were observed in case of the forced draft cookstove; while the traditional and natural draft top feed cookstove emitted the highest OC (0.07 g/MJ) and EC (0.09 g/MJ), respectively. Variation in terms of EFs for OC and EC (char and soot) within the cooking cycle was also found to be significant.


Real-time particulate and CO concentrations from cookstoves in rural households in Udaipur, India

26 May 2015 9:43 (America/New_York)

Real-time particulate and CO concentrations from cookstoves in rural households in Udaipur, India. Env Sci Technol, May 2015.

Authors: Anna Leavey , Jessica Londeree , Pratiti Priyadarshini , Jagdeesh Puppala , Kenneth B. Schechtman , Gautam Yadama, and Pratim Biswas

Almost 3 billion people around the globe use traditional three-stone cookstoves and open fires to warm and feed themselves. The World Health Organization estimates annual mortality rates from domestic solid fuel combustion to be around 4 million. One of the most affected countries is India. Quantifying pollutant concentrations from these cookstoves during different phases of operation, and understanding the factors influencing their variability may help to identify where improvements should be targeted, enhancing indoor air quality for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Gas and particulate measurements were collected between June-August, 2012, for 51 households using traditional cookstoves, in the villages of Udaipur district, Rajasthan, India. Mean pollutant concentrations during steady-state mode were 4989µm2cm-3, 9835µgm-3 and 18.5ppm for lung-deposited surface area, PM2.5 and CO respectively. Simple and multivariate regression analysis was conducted. Fuel amount, fuel diameter, duration of the cookstove run, roof type, and the room dimension explained between 7% and 21% of the variability for the pollutant metrics.

CO demonstrated weaker correlations with explanatory variables. Some of these variables may be indicative of socio-economic status and could be used as proxies of exposure in lieu of pollutant measurements, hence these variables may help identify which households to prioritize for intervention. Such associations should be further explored.


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