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According to the World Health Organization, more than 3 billion people depend on biomass for cooking, which has led to the decimation of many ecosystems, requires an enormous amount of human effort to gather, and creates considerable health problems that continue to plague the world’s poorest populations.  These problems are no more apparent than in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

To minimize the harmful effects associated with cooking, SEL in partnership with H.O.P.E and seeded by the EPA P3 program is designing, building, and testing more efficient, cleaner, and socially acceptable cook stoves. The improved stoves will significantly reduce the need for biomass and reduce the alarming rate of deforestation and the time and financial resources spent on fuel in Haiti.  The purpose of the SEL’s stove project is to build on recent stove advancements to develop an improved stove for Haiti and other developing nations with the goals of:

  1. Reducing fuel use by a factor of two or greater in order to turn the tide on deforestation and diminish the time and limited financial resources spent on fuel;
  2. Improving the affordability of cooking for Haitian families and vendors;
  3. Creating microenterprises for assembling the advanced stoves to generate wealth and develop local expertise for maintaining the stoves in order to improve chances of sustained stove adoption;
  4. Implementing a design that is intuitive, transportable, and enhances conventional cooking techniques for traditional foods;
  5. Providing an electrical power source to operate auxiliary loads such as radio, lighting, charge cell phone batteries, and small UV water treatment technologies;
  6. Improving the air quality for women and children; and
  7. Minimizing the negative impact on the local and global environment by incorporating a life cycle analysis in the design process.












The first prototype developed uses forced draft introduced at primary and secondary inlets to improve combustion.  A small thermoelectric system is used to power a fan for the forced draft.  The forced air also captures significant heat that would have normally have been lost at the perimeter of the stove.  A skirt around the pot is used to increase the heat transfer rate between the fire and pot.  In addition to improving stove efficiency the stove can provide some power for cell phone and LED light charging.  Currently SEL is testing and optimizing the stove design with hopes of field testing it in Haiti in the near future.