Reducing Emissions With Improved Charcoal Stoves

Posted on 10 December 2009 by editor

Charcoal stoves made of recycled metal.

Charcoal stoves made of recycled metal. Credit: Impact Carbon

By Joshua Kyalimpa

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) When Impact Carbon’s team leader Evan Haigler got involved with a stove improvement project for Uganda, his dream was to make efficient and affordable wood and charcoal stoves that created less smoke.

Six years later, his dream has come to fruition, and a cleverly-designed clay and steel stove is on the market.

The compact centre of the improved stove is made of clay, which contains and concentrates a maximum amount of heat from a smaller amount of charcoal than a standard recycled metal stove.

The stoves also improve indoor air quality by producing less black carbon or soot due to inefficient combustion.

Traditional charcoal stoves produce large amounts of black carbon or soot produced during cooking. This is particularly dangerous to the health of the women and children who spend long hours in kitchens in Africa. Globally, indoor air pollution from burning of biomass in smoky, inefficient stoves leads to nearly three million premature deaths each year.

This is according to David Hanrahan, formerly head of environment programs and the World Bank, and now head of operations for Blacksmith Institute, an independent environmental group working on pollution in the developing world.

Haigler and other scientists have been speaking about the benefits of using the improved charcoal stoves at the U.N Conference on Climate Change conference here in Copenhagen.

His group, Impact Carbon, works to develop and distribute improved stoves and other clean energy technologies at the household level. The aim is to protect the environment and people’s health as well as save income that would otherwise be spent on fuel.

The holder of an MS in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, Evan Haigler at Impact Carbon partnered with a local business, UGASTOVES, and carbon offset group JP Morgan Climate Care to develop the Efficient Cooking with Ugastoves project.

The outcome was a stove that reduced charcoal and wood use by up to two-thirds.

“UGASTOVES aim not only at reducing the carbon emissions, but the cutting down of trees to get the charcoal.”

The UGASTOVES have so far reached 300,000 families in Uganda’s major towns who Haigler says are now saving over 80 U.S. dollars each on charcoal a year, enough to buy a bicycle.

A similar project run jointly by Enterprise Works Ghana, the Shell Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development is building and installing high-efficiency cooking stoves to replace the stones that are traditionally used to support a pot above an open fire in Ghana.

In 2008, 68,000 new stoves, each costing 30 to 50 dollars, were sold in Accra and Kumasi, potentially providing cleaner kitchen air for approximately 400,000 women, including 160,000 children.

The locally made Gyapa Charcoal and Wood Stoves reduce levels of harmful soot in homes by 40 to 45 percent. Since 2002, the joint project has worked to create a network of local craftspeople and entrepreneurs who can profitably manufacture the metal stoves and their ceramic liners.

Demand for the stoves is strong, driven by a public awareness campaign on the health effects of cooking fire.

By the end of the year what started as small charcoal stove improvement idea will have sold at least 100,000 stoves in Ghana alone, and thousands others in Uganda and other parts of the world.

The version of this story uploaded Dec. 10 2009 incorrectly the potential reduction in carbon emissions by the UGASTOVE model, as well as implying Impact Carbon was involved in a similar initiative in Ghana. IPS regrets the errors.


1 Comments For This Post

  1. Noella Zicafoose Says:

    Intriguing webpage. My class mates and I were just talking about this the other day. Also your post looks nice on my old palm treo. Now thats uncommon. Nice work.





Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

With the support of



View Posts by Date

November 2015
« Dec