Improved Stoves And Other Measures

The negative impacts can be reduced by using improved cook stoves, improved fuels (e.g. biogas, or kerosene instead of dung), changes to the environment (e.g. use of a chimneys), and changes user behaviour (e.g. drying fuel wood before use, using a lid during cooking)."

Kenya Ceramic Jiko


From the beginning of the Appropriate technology movement, one of the principal goals has been to create an affordable stove that was more efficient than the universally used three stone cooking fire. Of all the improved stoves, the Kenya Ceramic Jiko (KCJ) has been the most widely accepted to date, having become a standard item in most homes in Kenya and neighboring countries in East Africa.

Charcoal is the standard cooking fuel in East Africa. Traditionally it was burned in a metal stove or “Jiko” as stoves are called in the Swahili language. The KCJ is simply the traditional Jiko mated to a ceramic liner, producing a stove that is at least one fourth (and up to 50%) more efficient than traditional all-metal alternatives, costing only $2 to $5. It has a distinctive shape, differing from the traditional cylindrical jiko, with the top and bottom the same diameter, tapering at about 30 degrees to a waist.

There are many variations on the same theme that can be found in Kenya and other areas of East Africa. Some are designed to be more robust than the original KCJ, and some such as the Upisi are designed to burn wood instead of charcoal, while others some are built into the home, and remain stationary.

Sanjha Chulha

This biomass briquette cook stove designed for community kithens. Since 1999 a small company based in North India ( )is manufacturing these stoves. Biomass briquettes can be made from any farm or forest residues with or without binders. Advantage of the stoves are lower cost of operation, carbon neutral and safe to operate.

Lorena adobe stove


The Lorena adobe stove was designed as a simple-to-build cook stove for use in Central America, one that could be manufactured locally of local materials. It became very popular in Central America, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that it is the most popular improved cooking stove in the region. The Lorena stove is an enclosed stove of rammed earth construction, with a chimney built onto it.

The Lorena stove was designed with the mistaken belief that rammed earth would act as insulation; there was a basic misunderstanding of the difference between mass and insulation. Good insulation resists the passage of heat; thermal mass does the opposite, it absorbs heat. Testing has shown that the rammed earth used in the Lorena stove does absorb heat, heat that should have gone into heating the cooking pot.

The designers, Aprovecho, now state: “The Lorena has been tested over the years by many researchers and has generally been found to use more firewood than an indoor open fire. The stove has other attributes. Its chimney takes smoke out of the kitchen and it is well liked. It is pretty and a nice addition to the house. It is low cost and can be repaired and even built by the home owner. But, it is not a fuel saving or low emission stove.”

Improved Lorena (Justa) stove


The Improved Lorena or Justa stove has a sealed metal cooking surface that sits above a stove made of bricks, and a chimney that carries the smoke outside.

The Improved Lorena stove is a simple biomass stove built around an insulated, elbow-shaped combustion chamber which provides more intense heat and cleaner combustion than an open fire, meaning that it consumes less fuel then a 3 rock stove, removing smoke from the house.

Standard approaches to conserving cooking fuel

Almost all rural and many urban families in Latin America rely solely on wood for their cooking needs. In most of Africa charcoal is the standard cooking fuel. In other places it can be a mix of the two, or alternatively like families on the Great Plains during the 1800’s animal dung may be in common use if it is the only thing available.

There are three places in the cooking process where fuel can be conserved; the fuel, the stove, and the cooking pot. The greatest gains come not from the stove itself, but from how the heat the stove produces is used; paying attention to the pot rather than the stove results in the greatest fuel savings. In fact, fuel efficiency in a stove is usually much more affected by heat transfer to the pot than it is by improving combustion efficiency.

* The first way to reduce the amount of fuel a family consumes is simply to use a cooking lid while cooking, which by itself reduces fuel consumption by 40%. This simple change will normally save more fuel by itself than switching to an improved stove.

* The second strategy is similar to the first; use a larger cooking pot. Larger pots are more energy efficient than smaller ones and wide shallow pots are more efficient than tall narrow ones.

* Last, when cooking for a family, switching from a stove that has room for only one pot to cook at a time, to a stove where two or more pots can cook at once will often raise efficiencies by up to 40%.

In developing countries, families who rely upon wood for cooking have three ways of obtaining it. They can scavenge the areas where they live for firewood, purchase it from a firewood dealer, or grow their own. In most villages there is a lack of harvestable firewood in the surrounding area, and so most of the wood used is brought into the village and sold through a dealer. Those who cannot afford to buy firewood are often forced to travel several miles to acquire wood. Some families have obtained self-sufficiency by maintaining a living fence, or growing a woodlot near the family home.

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