FAIL: Carbon-financed cookstove fails to deliver hoped-for benefits in the field

This is unfortunate that it didn’t work, but perhaps they tried to do too much here, like solve climate change and third-world social household habits all in one. The real solution is bringing inexpensive electricity to places like this.

From the UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON:

Replacing traditional cooking fires and stoves in the developing world with “cleaner” stoves is a potential strategy to reduce household air pollution that worsens climate change and is a leading global killer.

A new study by researchers from the University of British Columbia, University of Washington and elsewhere — which measured ambient and indoor household air pollution before and after a carbon-finance-approved cookstove intervention in rural India — found that the improvements were less than anticipated.

About 40 percent of families continued using traditional cooking methods after they received new cookstoves as part of the intervention. This "stove stacking" phenomenon erased some of the hoped-for benefits. CREDIT Ther Wint Aung, University of British Columbia

About 40 percent of families continued using traditional cooking methods after they received new cookstoves as part of the intervention. This “stove stacking” phenomenon erased some of the hoped-for benefits.
CREDIT Ther Wint Aung, University of British Columbia

Actual indoor concentrations measured in the field were only moderately lower for the new stoves than for traditional stoves, according to a paper published in June in Environmental Science & Technology. The study is one of only a handful to measure on-the-ground differences from a clean cookstove project in detail, and the first to assess co-benefits from a carbon-financed cookstove intervention.

Additionally, 40 percent of families who used a more efficient wood stove as part of the intervention also elected to continue using traditional stoves, which they preferred for making staple dishes such as roti bread. That duplication erased many of the hoped-for efficiency and pollution improvements.

Laboratory studies suggested that the more efficient, cleaner-burning stoves could reduce a family’s fuelwood consumption by up to 67 percent, thereby reducing household air pollution and deforestation. In practice, there was no statistically significant difference in fuel consumption between families who used the new stoves and families who continued to cook over open fires or traditional stoves.

Without field-based evaluations, clean cookstove interventions may be pursued under carbon financing programs that fail to realize expected carbon reductions or anticipated health and climate benefits, the study concludes.

“A stove may perform well in the lab, but a critical question is what happens in the real world?” said lead author Ther Wint Aung, a doctoral student at UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. “Women who are busy tending crops and cooking meals and caring for children are using stoves in a number of ways in the field that don’t match conditions in the lab.”

Across all households, average indoor concentrations of particulate matter, an unhealthy component of cooking smoke that can contribute to lung and heart disease, increased after the intervention stoves were introduced — likely because of seasonal weather patterns or food rituals that required more cooking.

The median increase, however, was smaller in homes where families exclusively used intervention stoves — 51 micrograms per cubic meter, compared to 92 micrograms per cubic meter for families who used both intervention and traditional stoves and 139 micrograms per cubic meter for the control group of families who continued cooking on a traditional stove.

“On the one hand, there was less of an increase in some pollution levels and that’s a win. But on the other hand, it feels pretty far from a complete solution,” said co-author Julian Marshall, UW professor of civil and environmental engineering.

The cookstove intervention the research team studied was the first stove intervention in India approved for financing under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, which allows wealthier countries to reduce their climate emissions by investing in projects that provide climate benefits elsewhere.

Among 187 families who cooked with traditional stoves that burn wood or agricultural waste in the Koppal District of Karnataka in southern India, approximately half were randomly assigned to receive intervention stoves — a single-pot “rocket” cookstove that burns the same biomass fuels. Randomization allowed the two groups to be comparable on demographic and socio-economic variables that may influence the outcome of measures, thereby minimizing potential bias.

The community-based organization leading the intervention has a history of working in the region and took care to address issues promptly and ensure that the new stoves were culturally acceptable, such as lowering the height of the stoves to meet the ergonomic needs of the women using them.

The research team took detailed measurements of how much wood the two groups burned — as well as air pollution within the household cooking areas and at sites in the center and upwind of the village — before and after the intervention stoves were introduced.

The researchers also measured black carbon — a less studied component of smoke that has negative health effects and also contributes to climate change — and found intervention stoves increased the proportion of that pollutant in the smoke.

Next steps for the research team include investigating whether giving families more choices among intervention stoves — with the goal of finding one that would meet a wider range of their needs — could further reduce reliance on traditional, more polluting stoves.

“We haven’t cracked this nut yet,” Marshall said. “But maybe that’s the nature of this problem — maybe we’re going to have small, incremental steps forward. Maybe it’s not going to be a vaccine-type approach where you have one giant step that dramatically reduces the problem.”

“Ultimately households throughout the world will desire the same clean cooking technologies used in high-income countries and in most urban areas: electricity or gas,” said co-author Michael Brauer, UBC professor in the School of Population and Public Health. “This study suggests that the interim solution of cleaner biomass stoves remains elusive.”

###

Advertisements

190 thoughts on “FAIL: Carbon-financed cookstove fails to deliver hoped-for benefits in the field

    • At least they bothered to go to the field and measure something. They could have stuck it all in an “Indian Household Computer Model” and let a super computer tell them that everything worked exactly as they had envisioned.

      • True, Owen, they did the field test. That doesn’t mean they didn’t first create the IHCM, of course, and then build at least several dozen of their El Supremo cookstoves. One unit, delivered to India, might have been enough to prove the concept. Or show that it was mostly bogus. The blind and their computer models continue to lead the blind. 🙂

    • Africa needs electricity. Coal-fired plants and NG plants. Nuclear plants (most expensive to build, no C02 emissions). Every hut has clean stoves. Death rates from breathing percolate matter go to zero. Woodlands to support wildlife expand. What’s not to like?
      Greenpeace, WWF, NRDC et al are run by lunatics. Racist, misanthropic lunatics.

    • The food tastes different. If the stove doesn’t permit the traditional methods for preparing the rhoti, then people will complain or revert. There’s a reason why we like food prepared using specific methods. Imagine traditional southern pit BBQ prepared “more efficiently” – one shudders. Puritannical forces have been working hard to persuade whole populations that “if it tastes good, it’s bad for you.”

      • How about New York pizza baked without those coal-fired ovens? Not the same flavor, sorry.

    • Maybe the new stoves don’t explode as often, which seems to be a significant cause of death (of house wives).
      Best if you know what you are messing with.
      g

    • If you cut down PM25, you presumably help prevent lung disease. But the pots are way back in an oven chute, and the soot shows you it is mostly going up and out. Interestingly, I was not aware it was proven carbon black caused climate change.

      • “Proven” to some means ” I really really, really believe with all my heart”. There was a proposed link between Chinese black carbon emissions impacting N Hemisphere snow pack through decreasing albedo.

      • “Interestingly, I was not aware it was proven carbon black caused climate change.”
        Read harder then.
        IPCC

      • “Interestingly, I was not aware it was proven carbon black caused climate change.”
        It isn’t, any more than it is proven that CO2 causes it, no matter what any second-hand climate database salesman who is dependent on promulgating such a canard to make his living would have you believe.

    • Something that conserves scarce fuel resources to poor economies isn’t all bad. If it improves the indoor air pollution and deforestation problems in developing countries as well that is a bonus. BUT, if the people won’t use it because it interferes with long standing cultural practices, it is useless. The one thing I have noticed about leftist utopias – they all fail to incorporate human nature into their planning.

      • I think it is more a total misunderstanding of human nature, a belief in the ultimate goodness of mankind.

    • chaamjal, And they have not stopped trying: Next steps for the research team include investigating whether giving families more choices among intervention stoves — with the goal of finding one that would meet a wider range of their needs — could further reduce reliance on traditional, more polluting stoves.
      send more money.

  1. I was not aware you could make burning cow crap more energy efficient in the first place. They probably used wood in their lab tests, but the Indians burn turds. There is no wood.

  2. This is unfortunate that it didn’t work, but perhaps they tried to do too much here, like solve climate change and third-world social household habits all in one. The real solution is bringing inexpensive electricity to places like this.
    __________________________________________
    There we go – feudalism, counting on domestic livestock + the unsolved problematic caste system .

  3. There are tens of millions of people still cooking on wood fires – and somehow electricity has not been provided for them from existing power systems.
    They need efficient cooking stoves to stop deforestation and improve their health…
    This is a useful and worthy programme – and you will note it is being rigorously evaluated, not just rolled out on the basis of expectation/ideology.
    This programme may not have been entirely successful, but note it is not the only one out there…
    Alongside efficient stove programmes, there are many commercially based ventures aimed at replacement of kerosene lamps by solar chargeable LED lanterns (kerosene is a major cause of fuel poverty, ill health from fumes and fires).
    There are also a large number of small scale solar PV projects helping those off grid improve their lives.
    These programmes are cheap, effective and can be delivered by setting up small businesses which benefit communities.
    There is little chance of any of the communities involved being supplied with conventional power.
    Why snipe at this? what’s wrong with improving peoples’ lives like this?

    • …There is little chance of any of the communities involved being supplied with conventional power….
      Then THAT’S what needs to change.
      For the amount of money being spent on ‘climate change’, we could provide running water, sanitation, power and decent roads to ALL the people of the world – many times over. We don’t do this because the entire First World Foreign Aid establishment would lose their jobs if we did it….

      • Affordable, clean, energy is what people want. They don’t mind getting an intervention stove if its better, but it is hardly the answer. Use your imagination; what would you want?

      • The best antipoverty program the US could back is the installation of fail safe nukes in developing countries. This could bypass local corruption and lessen the costs of building power lines for electrification. It would probably serve the interest of the poor very well but not anyone else. So, who cares?

    • The reason to snipe at this is that it’s such a fat juicy target.
      The real challenge is to provide people with real power that will transform their lives…not some sticking plaster solution.

      • And with that link
        The government is sprouting wings to bring in long-term policies and schemes for an unprecedented expansion in renewable energy projects. It has recently announced revision of the target of renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022,which comprises additional capacity addition of 100GW solar, 60GW wind, 10GW biomass and 5GW small hydro.
        ______________________________________
        everybody knows that Dreck is neither reliable, sufficient nor adequate renewable.
        It’s just
        a gigantic challenge that requires the efforts of countless organizations, companies, and countries:
        Потёмкинская деревня – Potyomkin villages

      • Griff,
        Interesting reading.
        His only argument that makes any sense is that rural areas in India are too remote for grid hook up.
        That might be so, but his assertion that renewable power is any better is pure speculation, not backed up by anything.
        The article keeps referring to renewable power as “good quality electricity” and “clean and adequate power” and other glowing terms, which make it absolutely clear that the article is a propaganda against coal, pure and simple.
        You say that “no one is providing grid sourced conventional power to these people, not now, not in the last 50 years and very probably not in the next few decades
        Well, maybe instead of wasting limited resource to pushing things nobody want, we should be working on providing that conventional power to them? We know that worked well for number of countries. Show me a single region-wide example where solar power actually brought prosperity to poor people? How about actually achieved anything useful?

    • Theoretical versus real world actual. Sort of like the comparison between the theoretical nameplate power output of a wind turbine and the actual output. Not even close.

    • As soon as I see words “programme,” “community,” and such, I know I am being robbed again, and some bureaucrats are warming their hands over the stove where they sadistically burn my efforts and mi lifetime.

    • I’m going to speak up for Griff. This was well intentioned and a step in the right direction, if ultimately flawed. It should be taken as a lesson about overreliance on lab instead of field studies, not a condemnation of the whole concept.
      At least it’s a viable design instead of being battery-powered or any other such nonsense (does anyone else remember that forced-air one which required a constant supply of charity-provided batteries?), and it does provide some modest benefit. However, anyone expecting silver bullets is rather naïve for this day and age, so let’s take it at face value, an imperfect attempt at improving lives, instead of rampant cynicism.

      • Griff’s heart is in the right place, but the problem is that we have the silver bullet. First world countries have been using it for almost two centuries: reliably energy. Bringing reliable energy isn’t going to happen overnight, of course, but had we started deploying reliable energy 30-60 years ago when the international aid programs got their start, most of the third world countries would be well and truly enabled by now and be contributing members of the world while their citizens would participate in the luxury and comfort we first worlders have access to..
        Instead, we pay billions a year to fund “slightly better wood stoves with a heart of gold” instead of things like clean water transport, energy services, and market access. The people actually out there trying to make a difference in these areas do so on a shoestring budget while the first world’s international aid apparatus is plundered and rendered ineffective by rent seekers under the cover of “green” and/or “sustainable”.

    • A) Nothing truly improved
      B) As an experiment it is a strong confirmation bias approach
      • a) No controls
      • b) Where is the preceding period of study establishing a basis?
      • c) There is not an equal stove use schedule, testing all households for applicability, usage and efficiency
      C) There are not any follow up tests or controls
      • a) The assumption is that researchers will continue to tinker
      • b) Where is the observing period?
      • b1) Will the villagers a(continue to use the stoves?
      • b2) b(prefer the new or old stoves; what are the goto stoves?
      D) Were villagers given a choice, bribed or forced to use the new stoves?
      E) After the test, if villagers given a choice of the following, choose what:
      • a) new standard stove
      • b) a new ‘new model’ stove
      • c) any other choice of a stove, e.g. tandoor
      F) Where are the exit interviews with the villagers?
      Otherwise this research smacks of Westerners deciding what is best for a several thousand year old civilization without true local input, or common sense.

      • I might take slight issue with B)a). There were households that were not provided the stoves which also were measured – that is a control group. It was also the baseline measure the other homes were compared to.
        Could also take issue with A) indoor pollution in the households that adopted the stoves improved dramatically, just not as well as they did in the lab tests. There was also improvement in air quality in the partial adoption group, but again no where near the lab results.
        In C) they showed that most villagers did not adopt the new stove exclusively, but used the old stoves or open fires to prepare certain dishes in accordance with tradition. There were some that adopted the new technology, but you are right that no indication was given about the attitude of the villagers on long term adoption.
        D) is an interesting question, but looking at the reported results, it looks like there was a choice (whether intended or not)
        E) and F) would be a good follow-up.
        My rating on this is that it was a good undergraduate sociology experiment, lacking in the experience and advice of a faculty adviser. They actually attempted to measure the impact of the proposed hypothesis and found holes in the theory. A good, if imperfect, example of field work. Your summary comment however is the one that brings it right out. As with all leftist utopian visions, they did not take the human element into their calculations.

      • Owen in GA:
        That would not be a true control group.
        Each household is a unique environment and installation with changing interiors, levels, ventilation, cooks and distractions…
        Each household should have been surveyed and monitored for a lengthy period before any stoves were installed to establish patterns of particulates. Not just someone’s summation and average, but a chart against time and day.
        As it stands, the alleged results are comparisons of different households, new stove installations versus households without, not of households prior to/after installation.
        I agree with your assessment that the research is “that it was a good undergraduate sociology experiment, lacking in the experience and advice of a faculty adviser”.
        With those considerations it would be a good undergraduate effort worthy of better respect.
        “D) is an interesting question, but looking at the reported results, it looks like there was a choice (whether intended or not)”
        Maybe, what is definitely not clear is whether there was any/equal compensation established for all participants.
        Or whether first responders to accept new stoves received more researcher assistance/cooperation along with any other perks; e.g. babysitting, fuel gathering, cooking…
        Frankly, I doubt a team of researchers can visit any rural, suburban community and get willing cooperation without either government pressures, cash compensation or both.
        Nor would I allow them to enter my house with such intrusions without substantial benefits.
        A last question.
        “In C) they showed that most villagers did not adopt the new stove exclusively”.
        I viewed it much as someone dropping in and not offering me a new stove/stovetop, but offering me a new burner.
        Oh Boy! Six burners instead of five! Plus, the new burner is larger.
        Given that the cooks view the new stove as just an addition and ran it along with all of their original cooking gear, How did the particulate levels drop?
        The old stoves are working, the new stoves are working. New particulate generation combined with old particulate generation equal less overall particulates?
        Perhaps the greater heat ventilated up the smoke shaft more efficiently?

    • The cost of renewables alone runs into something like a trillion USD a year. Imagine what kind of aid you could provide with money. The first thing you could do is to establish a program to build conventional power stations. This could also provide work for locals.

    • “what’s wrong with improving peoples’ lives like this?”
      It’s you bedwetters that are hell-bent on ensuring that a substantial proportion of the Indian population are prevented from proving their lives by being supplied with clean energy from fossil fuels via a decent transmission system, which would be far more ecologically sound than burning wood hence causing deforestation and wildlife destruction, not to mention phenomena such as the Brown Cloud.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_brown_cloud#/media/File:Giant_Brown_Cloud_Storm_over_Asia_(NASA).jpg
      So why don’t you tell us?

  4. The solution India adopted – with success -is the use of LPG stoves / bottles. Electric cooking would overload the already shaky grid.

    • And don’t forget biogas…
      solar is a great solution for water pumping in rural India, which currently is major rural use for electricity – you can put the panels over irrigation canals and also reduce evaporation

    • Wood/dung burning stoves should in principle offer an opportunity for an almost total reduction of particulates in the living area where they are sited.
      I have a multifuel stove in my kitchen. I burn vast amounts of fuel each year and the air in my kitchen is perfectly clean. I can not smell the slightest hint of smoke in the air, and surfaces do not collect any soot.
      Every year, I also spend some time with Bengalis, who visit from Chhattisgarh, India.
      Back in rural india, they use an open stove. Air rushes through an entrance at the base and the wood smoke rises directly into the room. These indians do not understand how to construct an efficient modern sealed stove with a flue. i.e. a stove with a sealable door giving total control over the air flow.
      Now, some bunch of idiots have gone over to india and introduced – THE WRONG KIND OF STOVE.
      The rocket stove designs that I have looked at are more or less a metal version of what the indians already have. They are crap.
      Now, research into the efficacy of this misdirected goof-up has concluded that the real-world results have been disappointing.
      Well, congratulations idiots – that’s because you don’t know the most basic thing about designing or using efficient stoves.
      It’s a massive facepalm moment for me.
      I was looking forward to seeing western agencies assist indians in introducing cheap, efficient, clean sealable stoved. Such stoves can be manufactured very cheaply from old gas cylinders and a some 1/4″ mild sheet steel. (I know a man who constructs such stoves for a living.)
      But, it turns out that academics, NGOs and government agencies involved are just as technological backward as the indias who they wish to pretend to be helping.
      P.S. everyone – Indians do not want to make rotis on electric cookers.
      If they make rotis here in the west then they prefer gas and a griddle pan.
      Why is it that the good-intentioned are almost invariably also the most misinformed?
      If anyone from such an organization is reading my comment then please contact me and I will tell you exactly what simple measure could be taken to totally remedy the current situation, reduce pollution, wastage of fuel and create clean air in the living area.
      This is not rocket science – and it did not require rocket stoves.

      • At least they went and tested it rather than plugging their preconceived notions into a supercomputer and claiming it proved their point.

        • Yeah, we should be grateful for small mercies.
          Although, they could possibly have considered testing a variety of designs PRIOR to spending hundred’s millions on roll out.

      • There is a difference in food prepared using electric stoves and the same food prepared using wood, gas, and etc.
        But most urban residents in the West don’t know this.

      • BZ indef for pointing out air tight, properly vented stoves are much better.
        What an idiot! Heard of an electric induction cook stove? That is what was in our apartment in China at the company compound for building new nukes.

    • You’very read your link –
      This is a gigantic challenge that requires the efforts of countless organizations, companies, and countries.
      – guess you’ll make it to the end of this century?

      • Just to make that clear –
        Feudalism – counting domestic livestock including slaves, Ständestaat == cast system + suppression of women.
        _____________________
        in a modern, capitalistic democratic Nation with ‘suppression of women’
        you have more than 50% of voters against YOU!

    • Feudalism – counting domestic livestock including slaves, Ständestaat == cast system + suppression of women.
      __________________________________________
      The environmentalists dream IndiaTM.
      [Rather, “Feudalism = powered by domestic livestock including slaves, farmers, women, and children” .mod]

    • Johann, what do they have currently? Have you even considered that?
      What this program is doing is providing more efficient cookstoves. That’s it. This is to replace an older stove or open fire, which is MORE polluting.
      The only reason that those cities had pollution problems that rural areas don’t is population density.

      • Ben you’re right.
        Currently they do have manpower. Intelligent young people making their ways in mathematics, physics, IT on the Internet but ambulant all over the world.
        And a subcontinent covered with a min. 2 km volcanic outlet shield cover.
        One of the natural gifted, fruit bringing wealthiest / subcontinents / on this planet.
        _____________________________
        Why not begin with plain NLG ?

      • Bringing the industrial revolution to a land of a billion people that is more than 80% poor, rural, and agricultural is not a trivial task. The long term goal is of course that they get modernized. However, that has to come from within. There is plenty of discussion on this thread about how this was not taking into account the human element and Westerners deciding what was best for Indians.
        How much more so is the actual process of industrialization, which must be inbuilt, natural, and homegrown, or it will certainly end in disaster. This is but an interim step.

  5. “…but a critical question is what happens in the real world.” Hombre, that dangerous radical’s academic job is toast!
    Seriously, nothing wrong with some of these new scrap stoves. Maybe something more important is to subsidise pressure cookers. Indians have used them for ages and they now manufacture millions of them. So there’s a solution right at the front door.

  6. This project has the appearances of the proverbial Boy Scout helping the old lady to cross the street where she really didn’t care to go. If you gave each test family $100, how many would use it to buy this cook stove? It doesn’t appear that many would put this at the top of list. Dogooderism never trumps culture.

  7. I don’t regard the article as “sniping.” There is nothing wrong with improving people’s lives, so long as the improvement is real and doesn’t have unwanted side effects; the study cited happens to reveal certain problems or limitations, which is good. The over-riding factor for the people engaging in this experiment (as opposed to those who oversee and record it) is convenience coupled with health and environmental improvement; it would be no favor to them or to anyone else to overlook the actual effects. The conclusion drawn–that the complete solution would be reliable electricity or at least natural gas–is logical and warranted. Burning cow dung indoors is bound to have at least some deleterious effects, but since it is a renewable and constant resource, cheap or free to the users, it will continue to be used until reliable electricity can take its place. Of course, electricity via solar panels or windmills is intermittent, unreliable, and expensive, to say nothing of its effects on birds, so it is not the solution.

    • The conclusion drawn–that the complete solution would be reliable electricity or at least natural gas–is logical and warranted.

      Sure … that’s a plausible alternative to handing out more efficient wood stoves.
      Simply pop in a cheap power generation source, pop in some high voltage wiring, stick in a substation every now and again, wire in some three phase electricity around the dirt streets, after knocking in a network of power poles or underground wires, wire up each house, and find everyone an electric stove. Import the high voltage linesmen, network analysis, substation workers and electricians from the city, and pay all their salaries by a simply charging for the electricity to the new electric stove owners.
      Wiring up the houses will probably require rebuilding the odd mud-brick wall, but you could do that when you wire up all the houses.
      It’s a wonder why they went to all the effort of handing out efficient wood stoves when the reliable electricity solution just sitting there so logical and warranted.

      • “Thanks for the straw man, Seth.”
        I took Seth’s comment as sarcasm. Note that he was careful to detail the required steps, illustrating the difficulties hidden in the simplistic phrase “the complete solution would be reliable electricity.” The suggestion that it be paid for by the poverty-stricken villagers themselves was a dead giveaway.
        Seth, never overestimate your audience, and never underestimate the value of a “/sarc” or a smiley. 🙂

    • but there is an immediately applicable solution between firewood/dung and any electricity supply…
      and in a tropical country with 300 plus excellent solar days a year solar charging LED lanterns are a better, cleaner, cheaper option than kerosene lamps used today – and they have mobile phone chargers!

      • Griff, we know about that all having mobile phones syndrome. Lots of boat people this days.
        do gooders want to see climate refugees.

      • Griff, the problem with solar is that its’ extremely high maintenance, creates a heat island, and India is a huge country with multiple ecological zones. The people who live in forests are not going to benefit from solar without clearing forest area. The people who live in cities aren’t going to benefit, unless they happen to live on the top two floors.
        The low density to medium density flat towns can generally be well served by solar in a lot of areas, but that’s where you hit the two other issues: creating both a heat island and a lot of maintenance on top of the subsistence-level work they already do. Maintenance needs that are exacerbated by not having a local Home Depot or Radio Shack they can run to to grab replacement parts.
        Solar is a great solution in some cases, but the use case fit is not as expansive as you suggest. Its primary and most effective use case is augmentation of reliable energy. It works the absolute best when you can, for instance, add solar to a US Home in an appropriately sunny area. During sunny days, you are most likely to use extra electricity for cooling, and this can come in large to full parts from a solar array which reduces aggregate strain on the system.
        Additionally, reliable energy is directly proportional to investment – we need to be investing our aid dollars into building out the infrastructure to make energy reliable. Whether that’s piped and/or delivered LPG as India currently does or building a rather huge and robust electrical distribution network is really upto the competing economics of each situation and location.

      • Griff, ever heard about ‘flash mobs’ ?
        about castaway handhelds and cloned SIM cards.
        bagpacks of stolen mobiles.
        “Max Frisch, der Bürger und die Brandstifter”.

    • Yes, Seth on July 28, 2016 at 2:50 am
      The conclusion drawn–that the complete solution would be ANY reliable energy source at least natural gas–is logical and warranted.

  8. Isn’t China’s air pollution problem caused by home fuel use, 10s of millions use coal at home
    Britain and Ireland’s smog was home coal use not coal plants, almost every home burned coal which absolutely dwarfed plant emissions

    • UK smog was both home coal and coal and other power plants in cities – London’s Battersea power station and what is now the Tate Modern gallery are power stations once generating in the heart of London

      • just wondering what would have been total home use vs stations. I assume millions used more for heating than plants did for power?

    • Pollution is one thing, while CO2 production is another. Emissions is a word that ambiguously serves the UN mind control conveyor belt. I don’t accept that CO2 production is problematic so the article needs to be criticized for that first.

  9. I lived 7 years in Tanzania and we produced in our school several cookstoves there. But we didn’t give them away for free. People had to buy for it. The best sellinng item were clay-insulated charcoal cookstoves with less than half the comsumption.
    We made also one european style cookstove with place for up to six pots, a baking oven and heat exchanger for water heating stored in a plastic drum on the roof. We used it daily for our household of eight. We sold lots of them, but with 150$, it was quite expensive for Africans. But the people loved it, because it was made partly out of bricks, thus storing the heat and keeping the kitchen warm during the night. And you could burn even long twigs as well as any combustible matter. It needed a short chimney, and it burnt so clean you coudn’t even see a smoke.
    We had electricity, but we didn’t use it for cooking because even we as Europeans saved a lot of money and it was so convenient.
    If you want to distribute something, you have to live there amongst the folks and to use it by yourself.

    • Yours is the only clueful post I have seen here.
      The idea that you can dump technology on a community with good results is just dreaming. Based on what I have read over the years, Africa must be covered six feet deep in failed projects (poetic license invoked) and they keep coming.
      If all I want to do is boil water, the rocket stove wins every time. If I want to run my household with the available resources then the rocket stove might never win. It all depends on the local conditions.
      I didn’t read a single word about how the researchers worked with the local population to find out what their needs really were.

    • But we didn’t give them away for free.
      =======================
      Exactly. Giving anything away for free in the name of “doing good” kills the local market, making problems worse than before you started.
      If the stoves cannot be made locally with village labor and materials at hand, it is already a failed project because the underlying problem is not technology, it is economics.

      • Exactly…
        which is why the solar LED lantern projects are all commercial – they sell them to small local businesses…

    • I believe that was the theme of the title vignette in the 1958 novel, The Ugly American. Live among the people, learn their culture, change behavior by example.

  10. Griff It is not giving when government takes property with threats of violence from people such as me to promote and fund parastatal agencies and things such as this this. India has a shaky power grid and thousands still unconnected in the twenty-first century because it adopted ill- conceived English ideas – Fabian socialism – over good ones – free exchange and protection of property rights – and is burdened by all of the corruption that caused, now further enabled by such agencies as we read about here – funded with involuntarily obtained ill gotten loot or loans secured by threats of violence against us and our posterty.

    • I don’t see that there’s a connection between the bad acts of government and supplying appropriate low cost tech to improve people’s lives – especially the lives of the poorest…
      The best models for these programmes are private philanthropy or charity funding sale of the items at low cost – not giving them away.
      The government is not, I trust, forcing you to donate to charity or give your own money away as you see fit…

      • The lede says carbon-financed. That means state-financed. That means tax-financed. Taxes are taken by force. Cash is fungible. You trust wrongly. Please don’t mix it up. Threats of violence supported this do-gooder project, even which discounts the quality of these people living themselves in oppression and backwardness. I, for one, am appalled.

      • So that’s the whole base for that garbage out –
        “The best models for these programmes are private philanthropy or charity funding sale of the items at low cost – not giving them away.”
        __________________________________
        And last green believers standing on
        This is a gigantic challenge that requires the efforts of countless organizations, companies, and countries.
        __________________________________
        we won’t pay. won’t happen. period.

      • 40 years after –
        UN spending correlates with
        ‘ This is a gigantic challenge that requires the efforts of countless organizations, companies, and countries.’
        with ‘where does the heat hide’
        with ‘whom shall we next dump UN General Secretary’
        with ‘let’s do a studie, something with ‘climate change’.

      • 7:03am:
        No Griff, you don’t see. But your kind won’t let that stop you. I have lived through national, self-funded, reticulation. And with good fuel-burning stoves too. Both very useful, unlike any of your propositions. Saw the filth and disease of the hippies as well, along with the terrible results of far left theories. India is sorting itself out at last, by classical means and their own skills including advanced technologies. They wasted 50 plus years on your mindset…

  11. “The real solution is bringing inexpensive electricity to places like this.”
    The reality of life that the liberal left just cannot face..

    • On the contrary, the Indian govt has pledged to provide all its citizens with electricity… as has the Kenyan govt (which is currently rolling out that programme with World Bank funding)

  12. Geologists probe geological carbon storage
    Study supported by a U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Grant.
    http://phys.org/news/2016-07-lid-geologists-probe-geological-carbon.html
    Not to be outdone study, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council and the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change
    CO2 can be stored underground for 10 times the length needed to avoid climatic impact: study
    yet another load of nonsense financed by taxpayer
    http://cdn.phys.org/newman/csz/news/800/2016/co2canbestor.jpg
    Image shows a cold water geyser driven by carbon dioxide erupting from an unplugged oil exploration well drilled in 1936 into a natural CO2 reservoir in Utah. Credit: Professor Mike Bickle
    http://phys.org/news/2016-07-co2-underground-length-climatic-impact.html

    • I wonder if this is the one named Crystal Geyser just a few miles downstream of Green River, Utah, on the Green River? We camped there while canoeing the Green. It erupts every two days or so, shooting the carbonated water about 20 feet into the air. Great to stand under on a hot afternoon. It is also an uncapped gas well. Easy to cap if they wanted to. The pipe and cement are still in good shape.

  13. Yes, obviously, creating an electrical power infrastructure is the work of decades and will require a vast expenditure of resources. And I agree that interim measures to address health and safety issues caused by current conditions is a laudable goal.
    However, if the end result intended is to improve the lives of the inhabitants of the region then the end goal should be modernization of the region. I don’t believe that the Greens have that in mind at all. The root cause of poverty is lack of access to the technology that would allow the people to rise above subsistence. Until that issue is addressed then any efforts to aid the people are temporary and cosmetic.

  14. “Across all households, average indoor concentrations of particulate matter, an unhealthy component of cooking smoke that can contribute to lung and heart disease, increased after the intervention stoves were introduced”
    Maybe they should go back to the drawing board, and burn it.

      • Can’t forget those days. One time I came home, mid-70’s my newlywed bride was playing one of my vinyl LPs. It didn’t sound right.
        The sound was sorta filling the living room, at a lowish volume, but the texture of the sound was really weird..
        There was no sound coming from the floor speakers.
        i went to the Marantz receiver.
        Shizzatt! The volume knob was turned clockwise all the way to the high-stop.
        The headphones were plugged in. My wife was using the headphones as room speakers! Not a good idea…

  15. YouTube “Rocket Stove”, extremely efficient (low smoke and fuel use) and can be made with scrap and local materials (clay?). They are scale-able from paint can size all the way up. They work as the flue gas is trapped in a heated chimney burning off the waste smoke, like a catalytic converter, recovering the wasted fuel and also cleaning the exhaust gases where only water vapor is visable.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_1024022927&feature=iv&src_vid=aOZ7gJaqdtQ&v=Gv2ghg3Xtkc

  16. “A stove may perform well in the lab, but a critical question is what happens in the real world?”
    This seems to be a common problem with the GHC folks. Like CO2 research, testing of any product should be done on location, real world. CO2 was also tested in the lab for it’s characteristics to cause warming in our atmosphere. Would it be possible to test it up there where all the action is?
    (Mebe I haven’t found the right peer reviewed research yet)

    • @aplanningengineer July 28, 2016 at 4:38 am
      I followed your link. The $900,000 grant was to design a more efficient cook stove for 3rd world use. Thanks for the link.
      If anyone thinks we’re a tough crowd here, you should see the comments from greenies and tree-huggers under that article; merciless! They were not impressed.

  17. Having been involved in a similar project in Malawi, I’d like to make the following points: 1) the safety improvement (little children burning themselves) hasn’t been addressed, but definitely is a factor, 2) as Johannes Herbst says, you shouldn’t just disribute free stoves, because people will only use them intensively if they are committed by contributing towards their stove, 3) the wood usage (and, notably, the associated wood gathering time for the women) can be cut down to about a third, but more importantly, only branches and twigs rather than logs can be used, which contributes significantly to reducing deforestation (because the tree does not need to be cut).
    Never mind whether the CO2 footprint is lowered or not and whether the climate is influenced: these projects are a big improvement for the poorest and they really appreciate them.

    • Frank, what ‘wood gathering’. 2+ hours women go for water, 2+ hours daughters sampling sh*t for energy supply.
      Brave new world.

  18. “Women who are busy tending crops and cooking meals and caring for children are using stoves in a number of ways in the field that don’t match conditions in the lab.”
    You see, they just need more money for education.

  19. The employees and family members of PC businesses and government depts should be required to use these stoves to offset their own CO2 usage.

  20. Bring electricity to these areas and deaths by electrocution will skyrocket, then they will all reject it, and we’re back to square one. The problem with the approach show here is that they did try and do too much. You can make a traditional stove much more efficient with a few tweaks, I’ve seen it done in Nepal, where the retro-fit of a small baffle and vent tubing made the things burn much hotter and more cleanly. If you stick to these simple incremental improvements the locals will buy-in, then come back in 3 years with a better stove, but here’s the catch, the person that introduces the better stove needs to be the same “trusted” person that introduced the incremental improvement. Too often we get these nerd-esque, do-gooders right out of college, doing a 18 month stint with the Peace Corps, or Unesco. The locals appreciate any extra labor, but the kids don’t know crap-from shinola, and they really don’t accomplish anything in the field.
    Back in 1951 my father showed a few folks in Central America that they could use a piece of steel pipe to transport irrigation water, it was much more efficient than letting it run through a ditch for 300 yards. Five years later, when he came back, they paid attention and accepted additional technology just because he was the guy who showed them the pipe that made their work so much better. An ethnologist, who accompanied both trips said it was the personal relationship that mattered, not the technology itself.

    • Are you saying these people are no better at dealing with electricity risk than formerly ignorant Norman, Anglo, Frank, Teutonic, Han, Siamese, Roman, Venetian, Slav, Norse, Arab, Lombard, etc. stock? If so, please elaborate. If not, please clarify.

      • Yes, but it’s not from ignorance, it’s from poor maintenance, theft, and poorly conceived attempts to modify the systems. For example, in India the number of people that die from accidents that involve electricity is off the charts compared to the 1st world. Data from India show that 1/50 accidental deaths are from electrocution. In the U.S. it’s 1/2500.

      • James, difference is
        formerly ignorant Norman, Anglo, Frank, Teutonic, Han, Siamese, Roman, Venetian, Slav, Norse, Arab, Lombard, etc. just waited for electricity.
        _____________________________________
        / ever heard lands of milk and honey, utopia = EU with mountains of butter and lakes of milk = planning /
        _____________________________________
        to shamanism / voodoo that just wants to thrive backwards to doom and gloom.

  21. Socialistic progressive (redundant) academics produce a product that is successful in the grant making process but a big FAIL in the free market, where users take many factors into account. I find it chilling that the end product is called an “intervention”, as if it was imposed against the will of the target indigenous peoples. If each intervention family had been given $100 would they have bought the stove as compared to buying something else? If not, then this project is far more an effort of virtue signalling and CV-boosting on the part of the westerners who conducted it than to really produce a product that helps third world people in a meaningful way.

  22. Who benefited from the exercise? Let’s do the audit, if those are still allowed in the new progressive era.

  23. One huge issue only tangentially mentioned here is culture. To many who grew up in rural India, certain foods simply taste better when cooked over dried cow patties. One can do a little online research to discover this. As long as there is a spot in the kitchen for an open fire and the bovine fuel is cheap then there will be pressure to use cow patties to satisfy this cultural preference. Even in the US, millions of families cook regularly outside over open fires in search of flavor and cultural satisfaction.
    http://www.shalusharma.com/cow-dung-is-still-used-in-india-for-cooking/

    • Eating food seasoned with smoke from grass eaters’ poo is underrated. Also, eating with your hands. After all, can you trust the quality of the washing of forks and spoons?

  24. How about combining the best of all worlds using molten salt cookers. If you were to combine a 10 kW generator powered by an external combustion steam engine (http://cyclonepower.com) with a molten salt cooker it would provide electricity 24/7 and cooking as well. In cooler climates it might even be able to heat living spaces. One time investment

  25. What if these peoble were encouraged and helped to produce their own stoves to their own need?
    The fuel saving should be some incentive. On the other hand it is real green cooking without fossil fuels and the smoke is very local.

  26. Given the significant amount of worthwhile and thoughtful material and comment that is consistently provided on this site, I am surprised and disappointed when Anthony takes such a “parochial” stance over an unquestionably worthwhile project. Yes, it would have been better if the results had been even better. No, as far as I can tell from the confused reports from the original source – it was not a total failure, just a lesser success than desired. Sure, it was funded by the carbon credit system, but running down initiatives that are worthwhile in their own right because you don’t like the funders or their system runs a high risk of being a niggardly response. (Ben Franklin said, ‘Always leave them a little wiggle room’. :-))
    While ” … bringing inexpensive electricity to places like this …” is very probably the *ideal* solution it is NOT the “real” one. Not yet and not for some time to come. Alas.
    I’ve played a major part in developing and producing hundreds of thousands of solar powered lights for use by people in developing countries (and a few USAians). I’d like the figure to have been millions. http://bit.ly/SL2MINIAFRICA
    Fully customer-paid-for LED lights (solar powered or grid recharged in some cases) are a practical possibility right now for anyone who currently pays for kerosene or candles for lighting* – the only obstacles are human nature, politics and greed. (*The real all up cost of providing kerosene-lamp-replacement levels of LED light is about the same as ~- 3 to 6 months fuel use. Properly managed microfinance means that in typically less than 6 months of the same expenditure as for kerosene the light becomes free for the rest of its lifetime, with no carbon deposits (&, fwiw, no ongoing CO2 emissions 🙂 ). )
    Cooking and anything else requiring significant heat is harder due to the energy levels required. India is currently unable to provide reliable / stable grid power to all those who currently have grid access. They are developing Thorium powered nuclear stations as one incentive to help redress this – but it will take about 40 years for these to ramp up to make a major contribution. In the short to medium term a good %age of “real solutions” are liable to look more like a rocket stove than a nuclear reactor.
    _____________________________
    General: I’d love to see sites like this lean somewhat more towards taking ‘the moral high ground’ and not slanging those whose opinions they oppose quite so vehemently. Ad hominem attacks may excite the choir but bring few converts.
    regards
    Russell McMahon

    • Well said Russell!
      Here’s a link about solar lamps replacing kerosene:
      http://cleantechnica.com/2015/05/12/solar-lights-eradicating-kerosene-lamps-africa/
      “Using a unique business model to sell solar lights in rural African off-grid communities, SolarAid aims to eradicate the dangerous and toxic kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020. Working in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Uganda, the lives of over 10 million people in Africa are being improved through solar technology.
      Announcing another record-breaking year, SolarAid recently reported that its social enterprise, SunnyMoney, sold 624,468 solar lights last year, bringing its total distribution close to 1.7 million solar lights”

    • General: I’d love to see sites that are real catalysts for change in calling out bad public policy and public education about promoters and scam artists of bad public policy input. A lot of the sarcasm on this site is about frustration with bad policy and promoters of bad ideas getting ahead at the expense of fact checking, results audits, and real science process. If there were a positive way around the generational spans of protectionist, special interest policies, and corruption in India and a lot of other backward countries there would be more cheering going on. The tens of thousands of demonstration projects out there are based more on self-aggrandizement than anything else. And the few success stories still ignore the policy landscape that ultimately dwarf them and undermine them over time.

  27. Rocket stoves are less polluting because they burn fast and HOT, which works great for stir frying vegetables and boiling water.
    But India is the world’s largest consumer of dried beans, peas and lentils – foods which are cooked slowly, over low heat.
    A rocket stove can be used to bring pulses to a quick boil, followed by moving the pot off the stove and wrapping it in insulating material for a few hours of passive cooking. But as was stated, the change in cooking ritual might be problematic.

  28. Brought to India by the immoral thieves from the Clinton Global Initiative — which were happy to profit from the carbon credits while not actually giving a crap about the people. They should be in jail.

    • India would rather pursue protectionism on local content rules at higher costs than provide electricity or other basics. That’s a fact.

  29. How about limiting solar cells as simple “made in India” charging stations for radios, phones, and LED lighting. Radios can be used for education. Solar cookers would not be a bad alternative in the tropical regions. They can be made pretty cheap right there in India and the cost partially subsidized if necessary. Women and children not being involved in wood gathering and bending over a smoky fire can spend that time getting educated. If you need incentive, educating the next generation can be very powerful.
    In the end, only an India solution is going to work, and it will happen. Women want their ease of meal prep and washing machines, no matter which country they live in.
    If you want a real education about this google Hans Rosling or go to gapminder.org and watch his videos.

    • Precisely Ulric – a chimney and a door on the stove.
      You just need to a chimney to create updraft and a door to control the burn and to create a pressure differential – such that air in the room is sucked into the stove and no combustion products flow out of the stove into the room.
      It’s that simple.
      Once you can control a stove in that way, then you can have controllable heat and almost zero pollutants at ground level (temp. inversion conditions exempted). Plus, more efficient combustion means less fuel wasted.
      The problem is not soot in the atmosphere – it’s soot flowing directly into the lungs of the world’s poorest.
      (Anyway, I thought that we wanted particulates in the upper atmosphere. I thought that Schneider had promised that it would lead to the ice age which we all crave.
      Or was that the earlier Schneider – before he became the uber-warmista-meister ?!!)

      • I’m not sure what aspect of this problem you have misunderstood.
        You have said “Studies like this that measured indoor air quality with ‘air tight’ stoves is why I stopped heating with wood.”
        Expect that the study in question explicitly states, “Newer airtight wood stoves keep more of the carcinogens OUT of the burners LIVING SPACE,” (i.e. indoor air quality is IMPROVED) see link from the post to which you refer.
        And yet you claim that I am the idiot.
        You should try reading the link before commenting – so that you don’t goof up.
        “Studies like this” compare the composition of the output of the stove or fireplace in total.
        In the case of the sealed stove they refer to the mixture present at the flue terminal.
        We do not breath the air at the flue terminal – we breath the air in the living space where the stove or fireplace is sited.
        The strategy which I recommend is to keep the living space free of pollutants.
        The flue terminal emissions from my stove have negligible impact on any man or beast.
        Who or what are you concerned about? A hypothetical recipient who in reality does not exist?
        I and my family live in the “living space”, not sited at the receiving end of my chimney.
        Whereas I have attempted to spend a few minutes in a traditional bengali kitchen and I can tell you that it is an experience that is not significantly improved upon living IN a chimney.
        Maybe you should focus on making valid arguments rather than lazily insulting people who possess complete information, good technical understanding and lifelong experience of the specific issues being debated.

  30. (Sorry, I accidentally posted this comment in the middle of the thread, can the mod please remove the duplicate – see earlier, if necessary.)
    Wood/dung burning stoves should in principle offer an opportunity for an almost total reduction of particulates in the living area where they are sited.
    I have a multifuel stove in my kitchen. I burn vast amounts of fuel each year and the air in my kitchen is perfectly clean. I can not smell the slightest hint of smoke in the air, and surfaces do not collect any soot.
    Every year, I also spend some time with Bengalis, who visit from Chhattisgarh, India.
    Back in rural india, they use an open stove. Air rushes through an entrance at the base and the wood smoke rises directly into the room. These indians do not understand how to construct an efficient modern sealed stove with a flue. i.e. a stove with a sealable door giving total control over the air flow.
    Now, some bunch of idiots have gone over to india and introduced – THE WRONG KIND OF STOVE.
    The rocket stove designs that I have looked at are more or less a metal version of what the indians already have. They are crap.
    Now, research into the efficacy of this misdirected goof-up has concluded that the real-world results have been disappointing.
    Well, congratulations idiots – that’s because you don’t know the most basic thing about designing or using efficient stoves.
    It’s a massive facepalm moment for me.
    I was looking forward to seeing western agencies assist indians in introducing cheap, efficient, clean sealable stoved. Such stoves can be manufactured very cheaply from old gas cylinders and a some 1/4″ mild sheet steel. (I know a man who constructs such stoves for a living.)
    But, it turns out that academics, NGOs and government agencies involved are just as technological backward as the indias who they wish to pretend to be helping.
    P.S. everyone – Indians do not want to make rotis on electric cookers.
    If they make rotis here in the west then they prefer gas and a griddle pan.
    Why is it that the good-intentioned are almost invariably also the most misinformed?
    If anyone from such an organization is reading my comment then please contact me and I will tell you exactly what simple measure could be taken to totally remedy the current situation, reduce pollution, wastage of fuel and create clean air in the living area.
    This is not rocket science – and it did not require rocket stoves.

  31. Ah, if only Greenies were actually concerned about the welfare of poor people, instead of “saving the planet”.
    The stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming.

    • Welll, heck… who do you think is running all the solar lantern projects in Africa, India, Bangladesh?
      rich conservatives, fossil fuel power companies or greenies?

  32. The new stoves are sometimes a slight advance on the old stoves.
    It’s completely hit and miss. Mostly miss.
    But then the old “chulha” design was barely an advance on an open fire.
    Many newer designs are still based upon pre-industrial revolution thinking and primitive technologies.
    Somebody should introduce these people to modern, efficient, safe and clean stoves.
    Instead of continuing the obsession with making small modifications to wasteful, dirty, obselete designs from the distant past.
    The neolithic era is over – let’s put it behind us and move on.

    • These indians do not understand how to construct an efficient modern sealed stove with a flue…
      75 percent of rural India survives on [USD $0.50] per day
      They’re poor, not stupid. The present U.S. Surgeon General was born in rural India, a farmer’s son.
      Somebody should introduce these people to modern, efficient, safe and clean stoves…>/i>
      A rocket stove burns both creosote and carbon monoxide gases using dry fuel and plenty of air. Since many poor can’t afford an expensive dirty stove that dumps the pollution outdoors (such as yours), a more affordable option is improved ventilation combined with a cleaner burning stove.

      • Then you condemn them, through this chain of reckoning – to be expose to extraordinarily high levels of indoor smoke exposure.
        I’m not sure why you would be so keen to defend the indefensible.
        The bengalis who I know personally – who use the traditional clay open stove have access to enough money to buy trucks and smartphones.
        I could personally show them how to construct efficient flued stoves that cost no more than $40 each.
        This obsession with reducing total emissions rather than aiming primarily to reduce human exposure will result in the premature deaths of hundreds of millions.
        Deaths resulting from stupidity and ignorance – not from poverty.

      • Retired Kit
        The Power Pallet is a brilliant piece of work and please don’t lump everything into a single bin. The same organisation offers the plans for making research gasifiers free on line. They are expanding production as rapidly as possible and exporting a great many.

  33. … remains elusive. ”
    Kudos for the rare, unvarnished candor of the researchers! Bespeaks of engineering involvement. The answer for a successful conclusion could be to broadly share the details of design, cultural habits, etc. involved. To have not considered that these people have a special way to cook Nan or tandoori is an unacceptable oversight (old meaning of the word).

  34. “Women who are busy tending crops and cooking meals and caring for children are using stoves in a number of ways in the field that don’t match conditions in the lab.”
    Really? Shocker!
    Hooda thunk it?

    • I have been conducting a similar experiment.
      I have succeeded in converting beer into urine.
      I now need a grant for further extensive research.

      • Retired Kit
        The Power Pallet is a brilliant piece of work and please don’t lump everything into a single bin. The same organisation offers the plans for making research gasifiers free on line. They are expanding production as rapidly as possible and exporting a great many.

  35. Here is the correct way to do it.
    1. Go to a community using wood stoves and study how the people (men as well as women use them).
    2. Find ways to improve those processes.
    a. Better chimneys perhaps
    3. Demonstrate those improvements and point out their advantages.
    a. Less time and money for fuel.
    b. Better health.
    4. Write a report and add in all the climate change crap.

  36. This is a good rule for life. If anyone ever says ‘It’s simple arithmetic’ they are either a stupid person or they think you are. Making a stove (or a car for that matter) more efficient effectively makes the fuel cheaper. Everyone who claims to have more than a grade 10 education should know what happens to demand when the price drops.

  37. More than 40 years ago, when OPEC turned off the oil spigot and the US turned to wood burning stoves to heat their homes, this move made their kids sick, from indoor air pollution. No matter how sophisticated the stove, no matter how efficient, the same result, because the firebox had to be opened to add fuel to the fire. Just seconds are needed for the gases and particulates of the firebox to equilibrate with the room.
    Now we have in a 3rd world country an attempt to continue to use biomass for cooking and heating, again, with the identical results. There is no safe biomass stove that is used indoors.
    Any attempt to cook with solar is doomed to failure as, frankly, they don’t work unless it is during midday, sunny and not monsoon season. To cook lentils requires more time to cook and fiddling with the angle of the solar collector all the time.
    Unless and until the International Monetary Fund is allowed to finance coal fired power plants to get electricity to 2 million people who live without it, we will see the same excess deaths from this political decision.

      • Retired Kit P
        Try reading this:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1568417/
        Yes indeed, indoor air pollution from the use of woodturning stoves here in the good olde USA. The only thing that made the sick kids better, OPEC turned on the oil spigots again and people switched to propane gas furnaces and got rid of their WBS, or, if ever used, for decorative purposes. Some WBS that are used regularly have the combustion occur outside and hotter heat is piped indoors.
        The firebox and when it is opened, in less than 30 seconds, the firebox gases and particulates come into equilibrium with the room. Of the 7,000+ compounds in the firebox that come into the room, more than 90 are direct toxins to the respiratory tract defense mechanisms and another 50+ are carcinogenic.

  38. I was in the Peace Corps in Brazil. One of the Peace Corps “off the shelf” projects was dung to gas. Most common was using pig dung in a pit. Put a “roof” of sheet metal over the manure with a pipe sticking out the top. Bacteria turn the dung into gas. The weight of the roof pushes the gas up the pipe and through a hose into the house. The hose is connected to a stove. This project is usually done with scrap or very cheap material and is safe and effective. Any kind of dung, including human will work. Isn’t this approach better, cheaper and more effecitive.
    King

  39. I hate to disagree with Anthony, but his remedy ; “The real solution is bringing inexpensive electricity to places like this.” is not rue and is, for now for most places, “pie in the sky”.
    Until four years ago, my wife and I lived in the Dominican Republic where we did humanitarian work, mostly with the poor and profoundly poor. 80% or better of rural Dominican homes cook over wood or charcoal, at least part of the time. They would prefer propane stoves, which are available cheaply as one and two burner units and propane is subsidized by the government. Nonetheless, the poor often run out of gas and use the wood or charcoal stove — or the run our of money for gas. Cooking for groups, large pots of rice or stews, is almost always on a wood fire — on a wood stove or just the traditional open fire three-rock-stove, often outside under a roof or just in the backyard.
    It will be decades before Dominicans will be cooking on electric kitchen stoves, if ever. Modern electric ranges need 50 amp service, far beyond the actual service supplied to most Dominican homes outside of the Capital — and many have simple 120v/20 amp (one or two circuits) service. No part of the country has reliable 24/7 electrical power.
    Solar and wind will probably never supply adequate power for all electric kitchens.

    • Kip Hansen
      I admire you and yours service to the people of the Dominican Republic.
      I beg to disagree re: electricity. An electric hotplate and tea kettle need only 110 service which is easily obtainable. Cultural norms do take some time to change especially around the issues of food in developing countries. You are correct that 50 amp service is needed for an electric stove with four top burners and one oven; that is not what I am talking about.
      The major obstacle to electric cooking in 3rd world countries…? no electricity because IMF won’t finance coal fired power plants. This is a political issue. Nothing technical about it. Starvation, vulnerability to respiratory illnesses, and deforestation are the outcome of the Green induced IMF policy.
      Change the IMF policy and poof, away goes most respiratory illnesses in the 3rd world; away goes deforestation; away goes subsistence living. Pretty remarkable what electricity does for people. Pretty horrible what Green groups do to vulnerable people.

      • RiHo08 ==> an “electric hotplate and a teakettle” do not a kitchen stove make, particularly in Latin America, where chicken is deep fried, huge pots of rice need cooking, and so on, in addition to water being heated for washing, bathing, etc (bathing water rarely needed, water left out in a metal 55 gal drum averages out at about 85 degrees F). Moreover, eating must happen at least two times a day, electrical service is not reliable, off as often as on, in many places only one in the early evening, off the rest of the day. In may towns and villages, one knows if the power is on, not by looking for lighted street lamps, but at the street side benches….if the people are off the streets, the power is on and they’ve run inside to catch an hour or two of TV before it goes off again.
        An “electric hotplate and a teakettle” make a “kitchen” for a retired British couple in a two room apartment — eating mostly curry take-out and one-box, just-add-water meals.
        They DO need electricity — to run businesses and refrigeration — but it must be 24/7, ample, and not on-and-off.

    • Kip – I’d be interested in obtaining your contact details if I may. Nothing specific immediately but I hope to do similar things in future as I’ve done previously. My main area has been solar LED lighting but all related activities are of interest. apptechnz at g mail
      Russell

    • But solar will supply lighting to many parts of Dominica, and mobile phone charging and more cheaply replace kerosene lanterns…

      • Those are extremely good examples of what cannot be done realistically any time soon for a vast number of people.
        Here “realistically” takes account of politics, greed, human nature, priorities and resource use. Fix those and it’s easy. Almost any cooker uses a 1 kW element or larger. Assume you can use 500 W. A $500 to $1000 all up installation using direct off panel solar at current best costs. Add a battery and it allows enegy time shifting but costs substantially more.
        ie To supply that equipment with solar power costs far more than 100’s of millions of people are able or willing to commit to. To supply them from a grid connection is more than millions of grid connections are able to do, and not going to happen until we “fix” the problems in my above list . Very sadly :-(. – Russell

  40. I like to cook with gas. When I was in the Peace Corps in Brazil, we had a project involving turning animal waste in to cooking gas. It is very cheap, safe and effective. It consists of a manure pit with a sheet metal roof which collected the gas made by the bacteria in the manure. The weight of the “roof” created pressure for the cooking gas which was piped to the stove in the house. This solves the particulate problem and the deforestation. The fuel is essential free.
    King

  41. “ and is a leading global killer.”
    More BS!
    Many years ago after Gore invented the internet I blogged under the name ‘cowpiemaster’. A moniker my boys gave me because I was working anaerobic digestions of animal waste for my company at the time. I know my sh*t.
    I also do risk assessments. The kind that gets reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. No one has been killed or hurt by radiation from a US nuke plant. The risk is insignificant, in fact and assessment models. The medical profession has killed a few people. The benefit of very high exposure to radiation in treating cancer outweigh the risk of the patient being killed.
    I can cite many examples of workers being overcome by hydrogen sulfide (HS) and dying face down in excrement.
    Three points. First, significant risk can result in people being killed. Second, risk must be evaluated in the context of the risk.
    Third, multiplying insignificant risk by a billions of people to determine it is ‘a leading global killer’ is just BS.
    The root cause cause of cooking with wood or cow patties is the lack of affordable electricity.
    There was a time in America when a rich farmer’s wife chopped wood for her cookstove. The poor had open fire places. That was before electricity.
    During the depression in the 30s power lines were pulled to rural America. Not magic, just political will and technology.

    • RKP – This is NOT “disagreement” but hopefully [ 🙂 ] useful and non-confrontational comment. .
      I imagine that the “leading global killer” comment is meant to be taken in the context of the use of open flame cookers and lights in residential spaces as is common in ‘developing country’ use. In those cases the particulates have a significant impact on health and lead to reduced net longevity, as well as direct death and injury from burns – a not insignificant risk.
      Some sobering ‘stats’ here: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/
      “Premature deaths” is a misleading concept (if I die a year or a month or a week earlier than otherwise te death is “premature). But things like “More than 50% of premature deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 are caused by the particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.” and “Nearly one quarter of all premature deaths due to stroke (i.e. about 1.4 million deaths of which half are in women) can be attributed to the chronic exposure to household air pollution caused by cooking with solid fuels.” get easier to quantise.
      Useful:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoor_air_pollution_in_developing_nations
      http://burningissues.org/fact-sheet.htm
      Again, “premature detahs” does NOT necessarily mean ‘died because of’ – it may mean ‘life shortened becaause of’.

      • @russellmcmahon
        ‘particulates have a significant impact on health’
        Not true! You may want to be more skeptical. Fearmongering is a political sport.
        I suspect you do not understand ‘insignificant’. It is technical term. For example, if you breath nitrogen gas, you will be dead before you hit the ground. Confined space hazards are a significant industrial hazard. Companies have to show that the risk to workers is ‘insignificant’.
        In the US, regulators accept ‘one in a million’ as an insignificant risk compared to the accidental non-occupational death rate.
        If you have to do a study it is not significant. Growing up, I knew polio was significant. When my parents were growing up whooping cough was a significant childhood disease. Thanks to effective vaccines, new parents today are more worried about the risk of reaction to the vaccine then the disease itself. One of our babies went from getting his first vaccine to the emergency room. He could not finish the vaccine but was protected at the time because of most babies getting vaccinated.
        Since I am a skeptic, I will start a list of significant factors for health issues. My intent is to show that links to wiki or WHO is just so much BS.
        The most significant factor is getting old.
        ‘stroke … can be attributed to the chronic exposure’
        How about ‘attributing’ strokes to getting old. Maybe I will do a study attributing strokes to reading BS and then submit it to wiki.
        ‘pneumonia among children under 5 are caused by the particulate matter’
        The second factor is adequate medical care. Since I had wike open:
        “Pneumonia is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria and less commonly by other microorganisms,”
        Who are you going to believe, WHO or wiki?
        Too cold or too hot is another factor. I suspect that not having electricity for cooking means no A/C.
        Then there is lack of safe drinking water. Electricity is needed for that.
        After all those pathogenic microorganisms, I would worry about all the flying and crawling critters that spread disease by biting.
        I am just not seeing the significance of ‘particulate’. Like CAGW, seems like more of a theory than a problem.

      • russellmcmahon you are correct.
        Please see my note below on premature deaths v.s deaths.
        There is no actual data underlying any claims linking smoke and Acute Lower Respiratory Infection ALRI. Full stop. I got that less that two days ago from a global expert in this field.
        GBD includes smoke from various sources. Removing one adjusts the relative contribution of the others. The linkages are statistical and apply to populations as a whole. The GBD is useful for resource allocation, but it is not a diagnostic tool. And a premature death is not a death. A premature death is a statistical construct. It doesn’t mean there is no value in the number but it is not a diagnosis specifying treatment.

      • “For example, if you breath nitrogen gas, you will be dead before you hit the ground.”
        Really?
        I’ve been breathing around 80% nitrogen gas all my life, and I’m not dead yet

    • My rural Wisconsin dairy farming grandparents didn’t get electricity until after the 2rd WW — but they were sure glad to have it!

    • Retired Kit P ==> Let me point out once more — poor people do not cook with eletricity! Even if they can get it (which most can’t) They cook with bottled gas….which must be cheap and easily obtained (good distribution network). Even in the 1950s in the USA, older homes did not have ample electrical amperage to their homes to use electric stoves and ovens. I owned a home in the 1980s that still had basic 50 amp power!
      Providing enough power and cheap enough to electrify the kitchens of the poor of Africa or Latin America is a multi-generational task, and the energy breakthrough necessary for it has not yet happened.
      Yes, they do need cheap, plentiful, dependable electrical power — just not for cooking — for that they need bottled (or infra-structure city) gas.

      • “Let me point out once more — poor people ”
        Congrat Kip on being part of the problem and not the solution.
        Here is what is wrong with Kips thinking. What is the cost of not having clean drinking water and reliable electricity?
        American dairy farmers are very productive. Why? They have electricity to milk cows and run their computers. They have backup generators.
        It is a corruption thing. Poor hungry people are easier to control. Kip explains why you can not do something. But it is done everyday.
        South Korea after WWII was one of the poorest countries in the world after years of being enslaved by Japan. 90 % of the homes had dirt floors, and no electricity. Without natural resources, South Korea became one of the richest countries in the world. South Korea is now exporting nuclear reactors.
        More people in India are without than live in the US. Of course that is the kind of thinking Kip engages in. In all those ‘poor’ countries, the rich have clean water and reliable power.
        It just take political will for all who want the basic to have them.

      • Many poor people have a gas cooker and use it sparingly for special tasks like reheating food and making tea.
        In Indonesia LPG is subsidised. 40% of the whole population primarily cook with it. 40% use wood. However 70% of those who cook with LPG heat water with wood. And somewhat surprisingly, 70% of those who cook with wood use LPG. This is an example of stove stacking. Replacing one stove doesn’t magically create a healthy home.
        I have numerous ‘stoves’ in my home: a water heater, a furnace, a toaster, a BBQ, a gas stove, an electric frying pan, a slow cooker, a microwave oven, a coffee maker, a kettle and an oil-filled electric heater. That is 11 stoves. Why is anyone surprised that ‘poor people’ who harvest their fuel for free use two or three stoves to meet their needs?

  42. @RiHo08
    “Try reading this:”
    I did and your claim WBS makes kids sick is BS.
    First, association is not causation. Second it is postulated. That means it is just a theory. Third levels of indoor air pollution were not measured.
    I have read studies that indicated measured levels of indoor air pollution are higher when using a WBS. The levels will not make children sick but it a long term risk factor amoung many risk factors.

  43. Real world don’t match expectations in labaratory. Much like real world don’t match predictions in computer modelling

  44. I wonder if the proper solution to this is the technology of the early 20th century. Heating wood in the absence of air gives charcoal and gases which can be condensed to produce wood alcohol and some other useful chemicals. The wood alcohol is a useful liquid fuel. Before petroleum became cheap, wood alcohol from charcoal manufacturing was the primary feed stock for the US chemical industry. And the charcoal can be used in houses where it is considerably cleaner burning than wood (at least the nasty volatile stuff has been removed). For example see: http://library.umaine.edu/cfru/pubs/CFRU056.pdf
    Instead, when charcoal is made in the 3rd world it’s by traditional methods that do not try to capture the gases. The result is pollution and less efficiency.

  45. There are many curious aspects of this paper, too many to comment on in a single post.
    Most important in no particular order are:
    “The researchers also measured black carbon — a less studied component of smoke that has negative health effects and also contributes to climate change — and found intervention stoves increased the proportion of that pollutant in the smoke.”
    This does not make plain enough that the proportion of total mass that is BC rises but the total is far less. It sounds as if the total BC rose and several comments are made based on this erroneous assumption.
    Next, it was not the first CDM financed stove project in India. That honour belongs to Servals in Chennai. They make a TLUD gasifier they provide/sell to homes that burn wood waste from a furniture factory. The stove turns the wood into charcoal while cooking. The char is sold to an aggregator who sells it to a foundry as a coke substitute. The carbon dioxide offset is traded on the carbon market. The women in at least 6000 homes make money while cooking. It’s cool.
    Next, the rating of stoves that meet the National Standard (IS 13152) is made using a test conducted with bone dry wood which gives unrepresentative emissions (especially smoke). Thus to pass the test you have to design the stove to burn that fuel. This is in fundamental. If a stove works well with real fuel, it will probably fail the national standard test. So, were these stoves ‘approved’ or were they ‘good’?
    As for the impact of these stoves (lots of which are very good) I must emphasize a critical point that will probably have gone unnoticed by those not working in this field. It concerns the impact on human health of smoke from domestic stoves.
    You will hear from time to time references to x-million ‘premature deaths’ caused by exposure to cooking fire smoke. At present the popular number is 4.3m ‘premature deaths’. This is calculated on the basis of what are called Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY). These are modeled (5 or 6 layers deep) and use concepts that include the GBD and IER. They are ‘population statistics’ not consequences that result for an individual’s exposure to smoke. They are unlike asbestosis which can be traced one by one.
    So here is the switcheroo: people routinely change ‘premature deaths’, which means ‘shortened lives’, into ‘deaths’ as in: ‘The cause of death was a disease traceable to inhaling smoke from domestic cooking fires’. This is an unpardonable cheat. Shortening 4.3 million lives by 6 months, or 2 years, or 10 years, is in no way comparable with killing 4.3 million people. So, as you read articles on this subject, check to see if the author has a clue what they are talking about when they start flinging ‘impact’ claims about. Watch for claims that X kills so many people and Y, which shortens lives by creating illness, is ‘nearly as bad’. A death from malaria at the age of 3 is not equivalent to a premature death at 68 that might otherwise have been at 71. I have recently seen the switcheroo in a single sentence! The authors often know the public doesn’t understand the difference so they create enhanced alarm and seek funds on that basis.
    Considering all the other contributors to the Global Burden of Disease, it is not clear what the number of smoke-related DALYs will be for the current population of India because their GBD is changing so rapidly and will do so for decades to come.
    Lastly, the PM2.5 concentrations they report are significantly lower than the ambient air in many cities so lowering the stove emissions to zero will have nearly no effect even on a population basis. The GBD contribution from ambient air may dominate their premature death. Who knows? Which is better, a Zika virus inoculation or a better stove? What is the benefit of both?
    People love clean burning stoves because they (usually) ignite quickly and don’t make their clothes stink. Modernity is defined differently as one moves around the world, eh?

  46. “I’ve been breathing around 80% nitrogen gas all my life, and I’m not dead yet”
    I knew someone would not know the difference between air and nitrogen gas.
    So yes really! That is the problem with idiots. They are too stupid to look something up.

    • “Retired Kit P July 31, 2016 at 7:29 pm
      I knew someone would not know the difference between air and nitrogen gas.”
      Can you list the gaseous components of AIR? AIR consists of ~78% nitrogen, ~21% oxygen, 1% “other”, agree?. If so, we breathe more N2 than O2. Your outright derogatory response is inappropriate.

Comments are closed.