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Report from Dan Sweeney on the ISO Clean Cooking Solutions Meeting in Guatemala

10 November 2014 11:22 (America/New_York)

Dan Sweeney is a D-Lab Biomass Fuel Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  His blog post below was originally published on October 30, 2014 on the MIT D-Lab blog. Read about other events on D-Lab News.

D-Lab’s Dan Sweeney attends ISO Clean Cooking Solutions Meeting in Guatemala

Last week, I returned from a nine-day visit to Antigua, Guatemala. Working with D-Lab partner organization Soluciones Comunitarias (SolCom), I performed field tests on a couple of their improved, wood-fired cookstoves. And, I participated in a meeting of the working and task groups for the International Standards Organization (ISO) Technical Committee on Clean Cooking Solutions. For my blog about cookstove testing on this trip read here.

Dan Sweeney & Mara River (Fundacion Solar) during an ISO Fuels task group meeting.

Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves connection

So you may be asking “how the heck did Dan get wrapped up in all of this?” Many of you may be familiar with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (aka The Alliance,, a public-private partnership at the UN Foundation, initiated by Hillary Clinton to bring awareness to the three billion people worldwide who use biomass to meet their household energy needs through advocacy, funding opportunities and other efforts to scale improved cooking technologies. The Harvest Fuel Initiative (HFI), which I focus most of my efforts on at D-Lab, is a member of the Alliance and over the past couple of months we have become a greater voice in Alliance conversations about cooking fuels which recognize improved fuels as a needed innovation in improved cooking (the Alliance recently hired a fuels technical expert, Seema Patel, who is one of my new best friends).

International Standards OrganizationTechnical Committee on Clean Cooking Solutions

The Alliance has also convened experts from various backgrounds and locations, ISO Technical Committee 285 (TC285), tasked with producing a globally recognized ISO standard for “Improved Cooking Solutions” – in short, a comprehensive, globally adopted guide for evaluating, rating, certifying and measuring impacts from cooking technology. The challenge is that cooking practices and technology are different everywhere and stakeholders have a wide variety of opinions about what is important when evaluating a cookstove- should tests be performed in a controlled-laboratory environment (like D-Lab’s stove lab), or should tests be performed in the field during actual use conditions? And what tests should be required by the standard so as to sufficiently measure important aspects of the technology (e.g. fuel efficiency, emissions, pollutant exposure, durability, safety) but not be prohibitively expensive for stove manufacturers who may not be able to afford an expensive lab or field test campaign.

These are a few of the issues, among many more that TC285 is trying to tackle through a consensus based process over the next couple of years. Last week’s meeting in Antigua marked the start of the nitty-gritty work. The four TC285 working groups (Conceptual Framework, Harmonized Laboratory Protocols, Field Testing, Social Impacts) and two task groups (Communications, Fuels) met during several sessions to hash out scopes, work plans, write tables of contents and delegate responsibilities.

Creating international standards

For me, it was a crash course in international standards, an opportunity to represent D-Lab’s fuels research and the partners that we work with in the field, and a chance to meet a lot of folks who have paved the way in improved cooking tech.

Creating standards is a lot of work, especially for a product that is so varied in type and use, in many locations, potentially by large numbers of people. Navigating to a consensus decision seems impossible, but attending this meeting gave me some hope for the process. Drafting sections, editing and revising will be a long, ongoing process for the next couple of years, but the people involved are very passionate about seeing it get done.

I was encouraged to be involved in the Fuels Task Group, assisting group convener Marcelo Gorritty (UMSA, Bolivia). The Fuels Task group will provide guidance to other working group’s on fuels related issues, and perform a review and gap analysis of existing relevant fuels standards. I am also a member of the Lab and Field Testing Working Groups.

Introducing the Harvest Fuel Initiative to the Group

Attendees were particularly interested in the unique approach that HFI is taking in engaging directly with producers to scale alternative fuels, and also with our capacity building and design summit work. For example, there was interest in applying some of D-Lab and HFI’s design methodologies to cooking technology, such as a design summit focused on improved cooking tech and working with refugee communities to produce clean fuels.

Tour: San Antonio Aguas Calientes, cookstove factory

During our last day, some of us spent a few hours visiting San Antonio Aguas Calientes where social entrepreneur Marco Tulio runs Eco Comal, an impressive factory operation where he builds a several models of improved wood-fired cookstoves including steel-top planchas, and rocket stoves. I was particularly impressed with Marco’s intricately designed cast masonry stove internals produced from local materials, on-site, and to relatively tight tolerances.

And a . . . talent show

It was great to meet and work with some notable “stovers” like Dean Still (Aprovecho) and Tami Bond (Universithy of Illinois). In the evening following our last round of working group meetings, we kept with tradition by having a talent show where attendees performed, among others, solo flamenco guitar, traditional Rwandan dance and song, and a Nepali trekking song.

Read Dan’s Blog on Cookstove Field Tests in Guatemala.

For more information, contact Dan Sweeney.

Viewpoint – Making the clean available: Escaping India’s Chulha Trap

6 November 2014 11:40 (America/New_York)

Viewpoint – Making the clean available: Escaping India’s Chulha TrapEnergy Policy, October 2014

Authors: Kirk R. Smith, Ambuj Sager


  • Pollution from cooking with solid fuels is largest health hazard for Indian women and girls.
  • 700 million Indians are caught in a trap using solid fuels with little change in number exposed for decades.
  • Efforts to make the biomass fuel clean through advanced stoves have made only modest progress in decades.•A major new effort is needed to make the clean available, in the form of gas and electricity.
  • This will require forging new partnerships and rethinking how these fuels are currently promoted.

Solid cookfuel pollution is the largest energy-related health risk globally and most important cause of ill-health for Indian women and girls. At 700 million cooking with open biomass chulhas, the Indian population exposed has not changed in several decades, in spite of hundreds of programs to make the “available clean”, i.e. to burn biomass cleanly in advanced stoves. While such efforts continue, there is need to open up another front to attack this health hazard. Gas and electric cooking, which are clean at the household, are already the choice for one-third of Indians. Needed is a new agenda to make the “clean available”, i.e., to vigorously extend these clean fuels into populations that are caught in the Chulha Trap. This will require engaging new actors including the power and petroleum ministries as well as the ministry of health, which have not to date been directly engaged in addressing this problem. It will have implications for LPG imports, distribution networks, and electric and gas user technologies, as well as setting new priorities for electrification and biofuels, but at heart needs to be addressed as a health problem, not one of energy access, if it is to be solved effectively.


IPCC 2014 WGII Chapter 11 – Human health: impacts, adaptation, and co-benefits

6 November 2014 11:34 (America/New_York)

Human health: impacts, adaptation, and co-benefits. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 709-754.

Authors: Smith, K.R., A. Woodward, D. Campbell-Lendrum, D.D. Chadee, Y. Honda, Q. Liu, J.M. Olwoch, B. Revich, and R. Sauerborn, 2014:

→ Download PDF
→ View and Download Graphics from Chapter 11
→ Visit IPCC WGII, where the Full WGII report can be downloaded

We review diseases and other aspects of poor health that are sensitive to weather and climate. We examine the factors that influence the susceptibility ofpopulations and individuals to ill health due to variations in weather and climate, and describe steps that may be taken to reduce the impacts of climate change on human health.The chapter also includes a section on health “co-benefits.” Co-benefits are positive effects on human health that arise from interventions to reduce emissions of those CAPs that warm the planet or vice versa.


The effect of exposure to biomass smoke on respiratory symptoms in adult rural and urban Nepalese populations

6 November 2014 11:24 (America/New_York)

The effect of exposure to biomass smoke on respiratory symptoms in adult rural and urban Nepalese populations. Env Health, Nov 2014.

Authors: Om P Kurmi, et al.

Background – Half of the world’s population is exposed to household air pollution from biomass burning. This study aimed to assess the relationship between respiratory symptoms and biomass smoke exposure in rural and urban Nepal.

Methods – A cross-sectional study of adults (16+ years) in a rural population (n = 846) exposed to biomass smoke and a non-exposed urban population (n = 802) in Nepal. A validated questionnaire was used along with measures of indoor air quality (PM2.5 and CO) and outdoor PM2.5.

Results – Both men and women exposed to biomass smoke reported more respiratory symptoms compared to those exposed to clean fuel. Women exposed to biomass were more likely to complain of ever wheeze (32.0 % vs. 23.5%; p = 0.004) and breathlessness (17.8% vs. 12.0%, p = 0.017) compared to males with tobacco smoking being a major risk factor. Chronic cough was similar in both the biomass and non-biomass smoke exposed groups whereas chronic phlegm was reported less frequently by participants exposed to biomass smoke. Higher PM2.5 levels (>=2 SDs of the 24-hour mean) were associated with breathlessness (OR = 2.10, 95% CI 1.47, 2.99) and wheeze (1.76, 1.37, 2.26).

Conclusions – The study suggests that while those exposed to biomass smoke had higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms, urban dwellers (who were exposed to higher ambient air pollution) were more at risk of having productive cough.

Recent climate and air pollution impacts on Indian agriculture

5 November 2014 12:46 (America/New_York)

Recent climate and air pollution impacts on Indian agriculture. PNAS, Nov 2014.

Authors: Jennifer Burney, et al.

Recent research on the agricultural impacts of climate change has primarily focused on the roles of temperature and precipitation. These studies show that India has already been negatively affected by recent climate trends. However, anthropogenic climate changes are a result of both global emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases (LLGHGs) and other short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). Two potent SLCPs, tropospheric ozone and black carbon, have direct effects on crop yields beyond their indirect effects through climate; emissions of black carbon and ozone precursors have risen dramatically in India over the past three decades.

Here, to our knowledge for the first time, we present results of the combined effects of climate change and the direct effects of SLCPs on wheat and rice yields in India from 1980 to 2010. Our statistical model suggests that, averaged over India, yields in 2010 were up to 36% lower for wheat than they otherwise would have been, absent climate and pollutant emissions trends, with some densely populated states experiencing 50% relative yield losses. [Our point estimates for rice (−20%) are similarly large, but not statistically significant.] Upper-bound estimates suggest that an overwhelming fraction (90%) of these losses is due to the direct effects of SLCPs. Gains from addressing regional air pollution could thus counter expected future yield losses resulting from direct climate change effects of LLGHGs.

Conditions for sustained adoption of cookstoves and reliable health improvement case study:  The Maasai Stoves and Solar Project of the International Collaborative for Science, Education, and the Environment

3 November 2014 9:49 (America/New_York)

Conditions for sustained adoption of cookstoves and reliable health improvement case study:  The Maasai Stoves and Solar Project of the International Collaborative for Science, Education, and the Environment

One of the main goals of cookstoves is to improve health. Because the widespread use of medical examinations to monitor health improvements is not practical, our community uses smoke reduction as the most feasible method to measure the health impacts of new cookstoves. 

Less smoke means a reduction in particulate matter and carbon monoxide, which are responsible for many health problems. But health impacts measured by smoke removal are only reliable when women continue to use their new stoves well and don’t return to traditional methods for a significant fraction of their cooking. Over the past four years, our project has been working with Maasai mothers in Tanzania with a strong focus on designing and manufacturing cookstoves. We are finding that the stove has a high sustained-adoption rate. We have asked ourselves why this is so and why, when there are now explicit behavior change programs being introduced, we do not need one.

Why is it that the women never abandon this particular stove? The key, we have found is having a stove that the women actually want. They want it because it is safer for themselves and their families and they are tired of smoky homes. They want it because it reduces the menial labor of gathering firewood. They want it because it is convenient for all the kind of cooking they do and it’s faster.

To design the stove we worked alongside Maasai mamas for a year and a half trying out different prototypes and listening to their assessments. For us, the breakthrough for smoke reduction and safety was the use of a chimney. The smoke is channeled up through the chimney away from the lungs of Maasai mamas and children and the bricks of the stove and chimney stay cool so that children don’t burn themselves. Our design requires some manufacturing and construction so we have employed locals to do all the firebox manufacturing and teams of Maasai women are organized to build the stoves into the homes of new clients. As the project expands, the women experts train new teams of women.  The desirability of the stove, and the involvement of Maasai women in its distribution and installation together, have led to an integration of the stove into the social fabric. This has guaranteed total sustained adoption and therefore measurable health impact.



Laboratory demonstration and field verification of a Wireless Cookstove Sensing System (WiCS) for determining cooking duration and fuel consumption

28 October 2014 14:32 (America/New_York)

Laboratory demonstration and field verification of a Wireless Cookstove Sensing System (WiCS) for determining cooking duration and fuel consumption. Energy for Sustainable Development. Volume 23, December 2014, Pages 59–67.

Authors: E Graham, et al.

With improved cookstoves (ICs) increasingly distributed to households for a range of air pollution interventions and carbon-credit programs, it has become necessary to accurately monitor the duration of cooking and the amount of fuel consumed. In this study, laboratory trials were used to create temperature-based algorithms for quantifying cooking duration and estimating fuel consumption from stove temperatures. Field validation of the algorithms employed a Wireless Cookstove Sensing System (WiCS) that offers remote, low-cost temperature sensing and the wireless transmission of temperature data to a centralized database using local cellular networks. Field trials included 68 unscripted household cooking events. In the laboratory, temperature responses of the IC body and that of a removable temperature probe (J-bar) followed well-known physical models during cooking, indicating that location of the temperature sensor is not critical.


Affordability for sustainable energy development products

28 October 2014 14:26 (America/New_York)

Affordability for sustainable energy development products. Applied Energy, Volume 132, 1 November 2014, Pages 308–316.

Paul Riley

Clean burning products, for example cooking stoves, can reduce household air pollution (HAP), which prematurely kills 3.5 million people each year. By careful selection of components into a product package with micro-finance used for the capital payment, barriers to large-scale uptake of products that remove HAP are reduced. Such products reduce smoke from cooking and the lighting from electricity produced, eliminates smoke from kerosene lamps. A bottom-up financial model, that is cognisant of end user social needs, has been developed to compare different products for use in rural areas of developing countries. The model is freely available for use by researchers and has the ability to assist in the analysis of changing assumptions.

Business views of an individual villager, the village itself and a country view are presented. The model shows that affordability (defined as the effect on household expenses as a result of a product purchase) and recognition of end-user social needs are as important as product cost. The effects of large-scale deployment (greater that 10 million per year) are described together with level of subsidy required by the poorest people. With the assumptions given, the model shows that pico-hydro is the most cost effective, but not generally available, one thermo-acoustic technology option does not require subsidy, but it is only at technology readiness level 2 (NASA definition) therefore costs are predicted and very large investment in manufacturing capability is needed to meet the cost target.

Thermo-electric is currently the only technology that can be used worldwide every day of the year and is available without research. However, it is not yet self-financing and therefore requires subsidy or diversion of more household income to be affordable. A combination of photovoltaic and clean cookstove may be suitable in areas where sufficient solar radiation is available on most days. Affordability is shown to be highly dependent on the income that can be derived from carbon credits.

Oct 24, 2014 WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Clean Cookstoves

28 October 2014 14:04 (America/New_York)

WASHplus Weekly – Issue 166 | Oct  24, 2014 | Focus on Clean Cookstoves

This issue highlights recent reports, articles, announcements, and upcoming events related to clean cookstoves. Included are a review of the evidence on behavior change techniques in clean cooking interventions and a systematic review of Chinese language literature on adoption of improved stoves and clean fuels.


The Use of Behaviour Change Techniques in Clean Cooking Interventions to Achieve Health, Economic and Environmental Impact: A Review of the Evidence and Scorecard of Effectiveness, 2014. N Goodwin. (LINK)
The aim of this study is to review the use of behavior change approaches for clean cooking interventions in resource-poor settings. Using publicly available data, the report synthesizes the evidence of the use of behavior change techniques (BCTs) for human and environmental outcomes and impact. The report includes a set of case studies on selected interventions that use BCTs and applies a scorecard to assess the effectiveness of each intervention’s approach to behavior change. It also includes a set of recommendations for the clean cooking sector to consider.

Chinese Literature Review on Adoption of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels, 2014. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. (LINK)
In 2013, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves supported a systematic review of Chinese language literature on the adoption of improved stoves and clean fuels to complement a DFID-commissioned review conducted by the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Coordinating Centre at the University of Liverpool. More than 100 studies across Asia, Africa, and Latin America were reviewed to identify the key enablers and barriers influencing the adoption of improved stoves and clean fuel.

The 2013 Results Report: Sharing Progress on the Path to Adoption of Cleaner and More Efficient Cooking Solutions, 2014. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC). (LINK)
The 2013 Results Report is the second GACC report illuminating traction and trends in the cookstove and fuel sector. Building on results reporting first conducted in 2012, this report tracks partners’ self-reported progress in 2013 toward their shared adoption goal. As such, where possible, the report also offers year-over-year analysis of GACC partner activities, including analyses comparing new and repeat respondents to ensure that results are accurately stated and interpreted.

Sharing the Load: Public and Private Sector Roles in Financing Pro-Poor Energy Access, 2014. E Wilson. (LINK)
In this report the authors present some innovations and challenges in financing pro-poor energy access. They highlight the need to identify those population segments (low-income, subsistence, or extreme poverty) that can be reached most effectively by public, private, and combined finance models.


Empowering Women through Clean Energy Stretches from India to Africa.Frontlines, Sept/Oct 2014. G Koclar. (LINK)
In 2012, USAID awarded a $1 million, three-year grant to implement the Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Clean Energy (wPOWER) program in India. wPOWER aims to popularize the concept of clean energy and the environment by empowering female entrepreneurs to educate people in their communities on the benefits of using clean energy products such as clean cookstoves—and make them customers.


Online Q&A: What Have We Learned about Consumer Preferences of Cookstoves in Bangladesh and Indonesia? Sept 2014. Clean Cookstove Initiative. (LINK)
The World Bank’s Clean Cookstove Initiative recently hosted an online question and answer session focused on key findings and lessons learned from two studies of consumer preferences for improved cookstoves in Bangladesh and Indonesia. The consumer preference studies were conducted by the USAID-funded WASHplus project and the Indonesia Clean Stove Initiative, respectively.

October 27, 2014 – Webinar: Chinese Literature Review on Adoption of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. (LINK)
This webinar will present the results of a systematic review of Chinese language literature on the key enablers and barriers influencing the adoption of improved stoves and clean fuels. (See description of literature review under Reports, above.)

November 10-12, 2014 – India Clean Cookstoves Forum 2014. (LINK)
The ICCF 2014 will bring together practitioners, project developers, investors, banks, researchers, social enterprises, government and donor agencies, as well as foundations and NGOs to discuss the next steps to tackle the challenges hindering the large-scale adoption of improved cookstoves in India.

November 20–21, 2014 – The Cookstoves Future Summit: Fueling Markets, Catalyzing Action, Changing Lives. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (LINK)
GACC’s Cookstoves Future Summit in New York City will bring leaders from across the international community together to celebrate progress in spurring adoption of clean cooking solutions and galvanize further efforts to address the deadly issue of household air pollution.


Clean Cookstoves Pilot Innovation Fund Round III, 2014. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. (LINK)
GACC’s Pilot Innovation Fund (PIF) is a grant facility focused on providing funding to innovative projects that seek to develop, pilot, or test new clean cooking technologies or business models with a focus on ultimate commercial viability. The application deadline is October 31, 2014, 6 pm EST. The PIF will provide funding up to $150,000 to at least five qualifying organizations. Download the full RFP.

Data Mapping Energy Access Projects in Humanitarian Settings, 2014. SAFE Initiative. (LINK)
The SAFE Initiative (Safe Access to Fuels and Energy) is data mapping all energy access projects in humanitarian environments. If your organization or company has been involved in providing energy access through clean cookstoves in a relief setting, and you want to be included in this public data map, please contact Aneri Patel at All submissions will be uploaded here.

UNC Public Policy Faculty Receive $2.5 Million from NIEHS, 2014. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (LINK)
University of North Carolina Public Policy Professor Sudhanshu Handa and Assistant Professor Pamela Jagger received $2.5 million in funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to support their project, the Health and Poverty Effects of a Large-Scale Cookstove Initiative in Rwanda. The project evaluates the impact of a private sector cookstove and fuel distribution intervention on exposure to airborne pollutants, health, and poverty.


Invest in the Future of Clean Cooking, 2014. Global Alliance for Clean Cooking. (LINK)
This infographic depicts the benefits of investing in market-based solutions to increase the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment.

Can Currently Available Advanced Combustion Biomass Cook-Stoves Provide Health Relevant Exposure Reductions?

28 October 2014 13:56 (America/New_York)

Can Currently Available Advanced Combustion Biomass Cook-Stoves Provide Health Relevant Exposure Reductions? Results from Initial Assessment of Select Commercial Models in India. Ecohealth. 2014 Oct 8.

Authors: Sambandam S, Balakrishnan K, et al.

World Health Organisation Collaborating Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Sri Ramachandra University, No.1, Ramachandra Nagar, Porur, Chennai, 600116, India,

Household air pollution from use of solid fuels is a major contributor to the national burden of disease in India. Currently available models of advanced combustion biomass cook-stoves (ACS) report significantly higher efficiencies and lower emissions in the laboratory when compared to traditional cook-stoves, but relatively little is known about household level exposure reductions, achieved under routine conditions of use.

We report results from initial field assessments of six commercial ACS models from the states of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh in India. We monitored 72 households (divided into six arms to each receive an ACS model) for 24-h kitchen area concentrations of PM2.5 and CO before and (1-6 months) after installation of the new stove together with detailed information on fixed and time-varying household characteristics. Detailed surveys collected information on user perceptions regarding acceptability for routine use.

While the median percent reductions in 24-h PM2.5 and CO concentrations ranged from 2 to 71% and 10-66%, respectively, concentrations consistently exceeded WHO air quality guideline values across all models raising questions regarding the health relevance of such reductions. Most models were perceived to be sub-optimally designed for routine use often resulting in inappropriate and inadequate levels of use. Household concentration reductions also run the risk of being compromised by high ambient backgrounds from community level solid-fuel use and contributions from surrounding fossil fuel sources.

Results indicate that achieving health relevant exposure reductions in solid-fuel using households will require integration of emissions reductions with ease of use and adoption at community scale, in cook-stove technologies. Imminent efforts are also needed to accelerate the progress towards cleaner fuels.

The Use of Behaviour Change Techniques in Clean Cooking Interventions to Achieve Health, Economic and Environmental Impact

7 October 2014 14:16 (America/New_York)

The Use of Behaviour Change Techniques in Clean Cooking Interventions to Achieve Health, Economic
and Environmental Impact: A review of the evidence and scorecard of effectiveness, 2014. (Executive summary)

Authors: Nicholas J. Goodwin, Sarah Ellen O’Farrell, Kirstie Jagoe, et al.

The aim of this study was to review the use of behaviour change approaches in clean cooking interventions in resource-poor settings. Using publicly available data, the report synthesises the evidence of the use of behaviour change techniques (BCTs) for human and environmental outcomes and impact. The report includes a set of case studies on selected interventions that use BCTs and applies a scorecard to assess the effectiveness of each intervention’s approach to behaviour change. The report then discusses the findings from the review and case studies and includes a set of recommendations for the clean cooking sector to consider. A planned task was to compare interventions through an economic return on investment (cost-benefit) lens, however the availability and consistency of data did not make this possible.



Behavioral Attitudes and Preferences in Cooking Practices with Traditional Open-Fire Stoves in Peru, Nepal, and Kenya

7 October 2014 14:04 (America/New_York)

Behavioral Attitudes and Preferences in Cooking Practices with Traditional Open-Fire Stoves in Peru, Nepal, and Kenya: Implications for Improved Cookstove Interventions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(10).

Authors: Evelyn L. Rhodes, Robert Dreibelbis, Elizabeth M. Klasen, et al.

Global efforts are underway to develop and promote improved cookstoves which may reduce the negative health and environmental effects of burning solid fuels on health and the environment. Behavioral studies have considered cookstove user practices, needs and preferences in the design and implementation of cookstove projects; however, these studies have not examined the implications of the traditional stove use and design across multiple resource-poor settings in the implementation and promotion of improved cookstove projects that utilize a single, standardized stove design.

We conducted in-depth interviews and direct observations of meal preparation and traditional, open-fire stove use of 137 women aged 20–49 years in Kenya, Peru and Nepal prior in the four-month period preceding installation of an improved cookstove as part of a field intervention trial. Despite general similarities in cooking practices across sites, we identified locally distinct practices and norms regarding traditional stove use and desired stove improvements. Traditional stoves are designed to accommodate specific cooking styles, types of fuel, and available resources for maintenance and renovation. The tailored stoves allow users to cook and repair their stoves easily. Women in each setting expressed their desire for a new stove, but they articulated distinct specific alterations that would meet their needs and preferences.

Improved cookstove designs need to consider the diversity of values and needs held by potential users, presenting a significant challenge in identifying a “one size fits all” improved cookstove design. Our data show that a single stove design for use with locally available biomass fuels will not meet the cooking demands and resources available across the three sites. Moreover, locally produced or adapted improved cookstoves may be needed to meet the cooking needs of diverse populations while addressing health and environmental concerns of traditional stoves.

Household Air Pollution Causes Dose-dependent Inflammation and Altered Phagocytosis in Human Macrophages.

26 September 2014 11:11 (America/New_York)

Household Air Pollution Causes Dose-dependent Inflammation and Altered Phagocytosis in Human Macrophages. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2014 Sep 25.

Authors: Rylance J1, Fullerton DG, Scriven J, Aljurayyan AN, Mzinza D, Barrett S, Wright AK, Wootton DG, Glennie SJ, Baple K, Knott A, Mortimer K, Russell DG, Heyderman RS, Gordon SB.

1Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Respiratory Infection , Pembroke Place , Liverpool, United Kingdom, L3 5QA , 0044 1517053712 , Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, Blantyre, Malawi, University of Liverpool, Respiratory Medicine, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, United Kingdom ;

Background – Three billion people are exposed to household air pollution from biomass fuel use. Exposure is associated with higher incidence of pneumonia, and possibly tuberculosis. Understanding mechanisms underlying these defects would improve preventive strategies.

Methods – We used human alveolar macrophages obtained from healthy Malawian adults exposed naturally to household air pollution, and compared with human monocyte-derived macrophages exposed in vitro to respirable-sized particulates. Cellular inflammatory response was assessed by: IL-6 and IL-8 production in response to particulate challenge; phagocytosis of fluorescent-labelled beads and intraphagosomal oxidative burst capacity; ingestion and killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis measured by microscopy and quantitative culture. Particulate ingestion was quantified by digital image analysis.

Results – We were able to reproduce the carbon loading of naturally exposed alveolar macrophages by in vitro exposure of monocyte derived macrophages. Fine carbon black induced IL-8 release from monocyte derived and alveolar macrophages (p<0.05), with similar magnitude responses (log10 increases of 0.93 [SEM 0.2] vs 0.74 [SEM 0.19] respectively). Phagocytosis of pneumococci and mycobacteria was impaired with higher particulate loading. High particulate loading corresponded with a lower oxidative burst capacity (p=0.0015). There was no overall effect on killing of M. tuberculosis.

Conclusion Alveolar macrophage function is altered by particulate loading. Our macrophage model is comparable morphologically to the in vivo uptake of particulates. Wood smoke exposed cells demonstrate reduced phagocytosis but unaffected mycobacterial killing, suggesting defects related to chronic wood smoke inhalation limited to specific innate immune functions.

Impacts of household energy programs on fuel consumption in Benin, Uganda, and India

26 September 2014 11:05 (America/New_York)

Impacts of household energy programs on fuel consumption in Benin, Uganda, and India. Energy for Sustainable Development, Available online 16 September 2014, In Press, Corrected Proof — Note to users

Charity Garland-a, Kirstie Jagoe-a, Emmy Wasirwa-b, Raphael Nguyen-c, Christa Roth-d, Ashwin Patel-e, Nisha Shah-f, Elisa Derby-g, John Mitchell-h, David Pennise-a, Michael A. Johnson-a,

a Berkeley Air Monitoring Group, 2124 Kittredge St #57, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
b Wana Energy Solutions, Uganda
c Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), FABEN Project, Benin
d Food and Fuel Consultants, Germany
e Alpha Renewable Energy, Pvt. Ltd., India
f Self Employed Women’s Association, India
g Winrock International, USA
h United States Environmental Protection Agency, USA

This paper presents results of three United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) sponsored field studies which assessed the fuel consumption impacts of household energy programs in Benin, Uganda, and Gujarat, India. These studies expand on a previous round of U.S. EPA supported efforts to build field testing capacity and collect stove performance data in Peru, Nepal, and Maharashtra, India. Daily fuel consumption estimates of traditional and intervention technologies were made using the Kitchen Performance Test (KPT) protocol to determine the potential fuel savings associated with the respective programs.

The programs in Benin and Gujarat, India resulted in significant fuel savings of approximately 29% and 61%, respectively. In Uganda, the homes using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) consumed approximately 31% less charcoal than those not using LPG, although the total energy consumption per household was similar between the baseline and LPG user groups.

24 Hours of Reality: Field Report – Cleaning up the Cookstove (Video)

26 September 2014 10:57 (America/New_York)

Published on Sep 16, 2014 – Watch to see how a simple solution can improve life for the nearly 3 billion people who rely on wood- or coal-powered open cookstoves, and reduce carbon pollution along the way.

Consumer Preferences of Cookstoves in Bangladesh & Indonesia – Q&A session, Sept 30 & Oct 1, 2014

24 September 2014 15:34 (America/New_York)

We are pleased to announce the upcoming Q&A session next Tuesday-Wednesday, brought to you by Clean Stove Initiative and WASHplus!

You are more than welcomed to join our online discussion (click here), register to be part of the community (click here) and check out more resources we have on the e-platform (click here).

A biochar-producing, dung-burning cookstove for humanitarian purposes

24 September 2014 12:15 (America/New_York)

A biochar-producing, dung-burning cookstove for humanitarian purposes. Humanitarian Technology: Science, Systems and Global Impact, 2014, HumTech2014

Cristian Birzer*, Paul Medwell, Gregory MacFarlane, Matthew Read, Josh Wilkey, Matthew Higgins, Tomas West
The School of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 5005, Australia

Over three billion people worldwide cook with traditional stoves, which typically consist of three stones and an open fire. The harmful emissions produced from these types of stoves are known to cause fatal illnesses. Traditional stoves claim the lives of up to 4 million people every year and cause the death of more children under the age of five than any other single cause. In addition, widespread land degradation and deforestation have resulted from inefficient fuel consumption of traditional stoves. In order to address these issues, investigations into the use of dung-burning top-lit up-draft (TLUD) microgasifier cookstoves, that produces biochar as a byproduct, have been conducted at the University of Adelaide. Results indicate that dung from various grazing
animals burnt in the TLUD stove have similar heating properties, implying that the stove is applicable to a wide client-base. Additionally, biochar from cow-dung combustion is as good, if not better than some commercially available biochar.

Household air pollution and lung cancer in China

24 September 2014 12:09 (America/New_York)

Household air pollution and lung cancer in China: a review of studies in Xuanwei. Chinese Journal of Cancer, Ahead of Print, Sept 2014. DOI: 10.5732/cjc.014.10132

Authors: Wei Jie Seow, Wei Hu, Roel Vermeulen, et al.

Over half of the world’s population is exposed to household air pollution from the burning of solid fuels at home. Household air pollution from solid fuel use is a leading risk factor for global disease and remains a major public health problem, especially in low- and mid-income countries. This is a particularly serious problem in China, where many people in rural areas still use coal for household heating and cooking.

This review focuses on several decades of research carried out in Xuanwei County, Yunnan Province, where household coal use is a major source of household air pollution and where studies have linked household air pollution exposure to high rates of lung cancer. We conducted a series of case-control and cohort studies in Xuanwei to characterize the lung cancer risk in this population and the factors associated with it. We found lung cancer risk to vary substantially between different coal types, with a higher risk associated with smoky (i.e., bituminous) coal use compared to smokeless (i.e., anthracite) coal use.

The installation of a chimney in homes resulted in a substantial reduction in lung cancer incidence and mortality. Overall, our research underscores the need among existing coal users to improve ventilation, use the least toxic fuel possible, and eventually move toward the use of cleaner fuels, such as gas and electricity.

Dr. Bing Gu, CEO California Sunlight

24 September 2014 12:00 (America/New_York)

Published on Sep 3, 2014
Dr. Bing Gu was interviewed at the Sacramento Solar Cooking Festival sponsored by Solar Cookers International. His Fresnel lens solar thermal cooking device can reach 600 degrees F, can track the sun and can store heat for nighttime cooking. He is seeking investors so California Sunlight can begin mass production.


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