Evaluation of Wood Burning stoves in Kenya

USAID, February 2010

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Introduction to study and tested stoves
The purpose of this study was to obtain information on the potential suitability of a new
generation of manufactured biomass cooking stoves for refugee and Internally Displaced Person
(IDP) environments as well as disaster relief situations. Berkeley Air Monitoring Group
(Berkeley Air) was asked to combine rigorous quantitative stove performance testing using the
Controlled Cooking Test protocol with as much qualitative assessment of the acceptability and
usability of each stove as feasible during a time-limited visit to a refugee camp designated by
USAID. At USAID’s request, UNHCR agreed to host and facilitate the stove performance
testing at the Dadaab refugee camp, located in northeastern Kenya.
Five manufactured stoves were selected to be tested in the Dadaab refugee settlements. They
• Envirofit G-3300 Stove
• StoveTec Wood Stove (26 cm)
• Philips Natural Draft Stove
• Save80 Stove
• Vesto - The Variable Energy Stove
To qualify for the study, all of these stoves performed well in laboratory tests, were centrally
manufactured, required no assembly, could be easily transported, and were designed to burn
wood. In addition, a “three-stone fire” or (“open fire”) was tested as the comparison baseline.

From the Summary:


  • All five tested stoves outperformed the open fire, requiring significantly less fuel to cookthe test meal. This result is not a foregone conclusion, as a skilled operator can cook very efficiently on an open fire.
  • The study’s strong consistent results demonstrate the quality of these five stoves and suggest it is likely that this performance differential would continue to be measurable across various operators and situations.
  • Fuel efficiency is not the sole determinant of user preferences. Ease of use, safety, level of smoke, and taste of food are also key factors in the choice, assuming all models are equally available and affordable.
  • None of these stoves offered noteworthy savings in cooking time
  • Familiar stove technologies and designs may be more readily accepted by potential
  • beneficiaries, and therefore easier to introduce in humanitarian situations, where time and security constraints may limit extensive training.
  • Technologies that require more behavior change on the part of the end user will also require more significant training on proper use than those that are more similar to current practices.
  • Addressing fuel requirements is critical to successful adoption as users are not necessarily willing or able to chop fuel to accommodate improved stove requirements.

Recommendations and Next Steps

  • Entities seeking to disseminate an improved stove should research user priorities and offer more than one design choice to potential beneficiaries in the design stage of their program. Ultimate stove selection must take into account the time and resources available to support significant transitions in user behavior.
  • Additional useful data could be obtained by: engaging other test populations; testing other stove and fuel options; conducting longer-term in-home monitoring; and testing stove emissions or indoor air pollution impacts.
  • It would be helpful to pilot programs that facilitate fuel preparation and provide implementation guidelines and case

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