The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, states that “Most traditional charcoal stoves are made of scrap metal with no option to regulate the burn-rate of the fuel and often without pot-rests, so that the pot sits directly on the charcoal. This causes high emissions of potentially lethal carbon monoxide and wastes a significant amount of fuel. The inability to regulate the air supply and turn down the heat also leads to unnecessary waste of fuel. Lab testing indicates that improved charcoal stoves can reduce fuel use substantially.”
Laboratory testing suggests that improved charcoal stoves reduce the particle emission generated by that of an open fire. However not all ‘improved’ charcoal stoves are at the result of high end engineering and one wonders how devastating the production of charcoal is on the enviroment.
Nevertheless, the SNV 2011 Anlayses*, identified 72% of the Rwandian urban population rely on charcoal for their cooking. So in this instance the use of improved cookstoves is an important way to reduce charcoal and subsequently biomass consumption in Rwanda. In addition, these rudimentary charcoal stoves appear to improve the health of families while substantially reducing household expenditure on charcoal.
Gyapa charcoal stove – The Gyapa Stove is a charcoal burning stove made by Gyapa Enterprises in Ghana which was established in 2002 with initial startup captial from USAID. The Gyapa cookstove is a low-cost, locally manufactured, charcoal burning, cookstove that aims to improve the health of families while reducing household expenditure on charcoal. This stove technology reduces the amount of charcoal needed for cooking by up to 50 percent. The Gyapa cookstove contains a ceramic liner, the critical element for heat absorption and retention and thus emission reduction.
The Envirofit charcoal stoves are also retailed by ArtiEnergy. Envirofit was formed in 2003 as a spinoff company out of Colorado State University’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory to develop well-engineered technology solutions to solve global energy and health challenges. The CH-4400 is charcoal burning cookstove. Its carbon monoxide emissions levels are below the World Health Organization’s 60 minute exposure limits. The insulated metal alloy combustion chamber id designed to reflect radiated heat back to the charcoal bed, eliminating much of the carbon monoxide normally associated with typical charcoal stoves.
* Charcoal Value Chain and Improved Cookstoves Sector Analyses: A SNV Rwanda Positioning Document, Courtney Blodgett, 2011.