Southeast Asia Leads the Way on Innovative Cook Stove Technology

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
December 16, 2009
Researchers Test Emissions of Prototype Stove in Thailand

About the Authors: Steve Garrett and Bill Behn serve as Senior Science Advisors in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Phil Hopke serves in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

A joint Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - U.S. Next-Generation Cook Stove Workshop was held from November 16 to 20 in Bangkok, Thailand to consider advances in cook stove science and technology, laboratory testing and field monitoring, and business and program models. The workshop was funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs’ Office of Regional Security and Policy (EAP/RSP), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Air Force Research Office. USAID, The Pennsylvania State University, the University of California Berkeley, Clarkson University and the Asian Institute of Technology assisted in organizing the event. A Research Road Map will be developed based on the workshop’s presentations and discussions. The Road Map will be used to guide the effort to improve cook stoves in a way that would lead to steady-state production and dissemination of 100,000,000 stoves per year.

Although traditional cook stoves do not comprise a large part of global energy demand, they are responsible for more ill-health than any other category of energy use globally -- far exceeding that from vehicles and power plants combined. These adverse health effects are produced by the combination of highly inefficient combustion, producing unhealthy emissions, and high exposure per unit emissions because of the proximity of the users to the source. In addition, many of these same products of incomplete combustion, which include methane, ozone-precursors, and black carbon (soot), are important greenhouse pollutants, thus making such devices the most greenhouse-intensive fuel systems in the world per unit energy delivered. The poor combustion and heat-transfer of traditional technologies also leads to unnecessary waste of the primary fuel supplies, largely wood and crop residues.

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