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Sustainable Energy Solutions to Reduce Poverty in South Asia
3.1 Cooking Devices
In rural areas of South Asia, mainly biomass energy (fuel wood, agri-residue and animal dung) is used for cooking and heating purposes. Use of traditional stoves consumes more fuel wood increasing the burden on women, as women are mainly responsible for cooking and collection of biomass. Use of biomass energy and low-grade biomass fuels lead to excessive levels of indoor smoke/air pollution. Women and children in particular are exposed to the smoke emission. This is one of the reasons for higher rates of infant mortality and morbidity and other unhealthy living conditions. Release of carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses in the atmosphere due to poor combustion of biomass fuels in rudimentary stoves resulting into the emission of green house gases (GHGs). More than 80% of the energy needs are met by fuel wood thus exerting immense pressure on the forest resources with negative impacts on environment.
In order to reduce indoor air pollution and increase fuel efficiency as well as protect the forest resources and environment, several initiatives were taken up. As a result of considerable research and development various options are now available such as improved cook stove, biogas, charcoal and biomass briquetting, solar cookers and hay box cooker, etc. which are environmentally sustainable. Though there are advantages and limitations in each option, these are overcome by availability of several models for each technology for cooking purposes.
Although improved cook stove projects (ICPs) have been implemented in Asia since the 1950s, too many projects over long period of time have experienced consistently low adoption rates. This is primarily due to two reasons. One reason is the fact that technical cook stove expertise is still highly centralized. In any Asian country, Nepal and Indonesia are two which stand-out. There may be only one technical expert who is recognized as an improved cook stove designer. Other reason is the improved stoves introduced across a country are often limited to one or two designs. Trainings that have been held in the past have limited themselves to the design and construction of these one or two designs. These designs, although they may be appropriate to the needs, wants and conditions of one target group, will never be appropriate for all possible target groups. There are too many variables involved.
In answer to this problem the Asia Regional Cook stove Program (ARECOP) based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and the FAO’s Regional Wood Energy Development Program (FAO-RWEDP) in Bangkok, Thailand embarked on a collaborative effort to implement Asia regional trainings to decentralize ICP technical skills and programmatic knowledge. This training is different from those before it. It is not designed to transfer particular stove designs or stove building techniques. It invites participants to use a process of selecting a stove and dissemination pattern that does not ignore the multitude of variables which are connected to any stove. These variables include fuels commonly used, available stove materials and their characteristics, economic limitations, gender roles, kitchen size and layout, preferred cooking position, cooking habits, foods commonly cooked, traditions, household industries, non-cooking functions of stoves, combustion theory, heat transfer and heat loss theory.
The training is aimed at improved stove project field workers who are involved in the initial surveys and assessment activities and have the most information to make wise choices in modifying the traditional stove or selecting another improved stove design. The process used cannot be defined as technical or non-technical. It is both, as both must be integrated in the development of an appropriate stove design.
In different areas of South Asia, different types of improved cook stoves are developed which have their own merits and demerits but are popular as these are suitable to particular area. While the most popular stoves from Sri Lanka and Nepal are described as below.
22.214.171.124 “Anagi” Stove Construction in Sri Lanka
The most popular ICS in Sri Lanka is marketed under the trade name “Anagi”. Word “Anagi” in Sinhala language means ‘preciouses or ‘excellent’. So “Anagi” stove is an excellent and precious stove because it saves firewood and cooking time provided it is made to the correct dimensions. Lab tests carried out on the stove spell the technical efficiency of 21%, and numerous field-cooking tests tell average firewood savings to be over 30%, twice as good as traditional stoves.
Anagi is two pot single piece clay stove designed to meet the cooking
needs of a family of 6 people. It can accommodate medium size hard or
soft wood and other loose biomass residues such as coconut shells, fronds
Anagi stove has three main components: (i) Fire box, (ii) 2nd pot hole, and (iii) Tunnel (which connects the firebox and the 2nd pot seat). Likewise, secondary components are: (i) pot rests, (ii) buttresses, (iii) baffle, (iv) flame shield, and (v) the door.
Anagi was first introduced in 1986 by the Ceylon Electricity Board in
collaboration with the ITDG under the Urban Stoves Programme. Its success
prompted the stove to be selected for commercialization in the rural
areas with the participation of the Integrated Development Association
(IDEA) and the ITDG. Later, the Asian Cook stove Programme (ARECOP) supported
the programme, which got success in installing 300,000 stoves in remote
126.96.36.199 Improved Cook Stove in India
The National Programme on Improved Chulha (NPIC) was started in 1986-87 by Govt. of India as a programme for women, by women & through women with the following objectives:
In India several models have been developed and promoted, out of which two models are presented here:
188.8.131.52 Improved Cook Stove– CRT Nepal
The type of Improved Cook Stove (ICS) promoted in Nepal is made up of 3-part mud/earth, 2 parts straw/husk and 1 part animal dung. The whole structure is plastered smooth with the same mud mortar. ICS has two fire openings for cooking pots, one behind the other.
ICS can even be used for space heating by adding a cast iron/mild steel plate put tight over the pot holes for the pots or by putting a metal pipe around the space/room to make the pots or by putting a metal pipe around the space/room to make the hot air pass around the room through the pipe before going out through the chimney. Nowadays, use of ICS for water heating by attaching a back boiler on the side or around the chimney pipe is increasing in the mid-hills and mountain regions of Nepal. The materials required for the construction of ICS are locally available and includes stones/bricks, mud/earth, straw/rice husk, iron plates/ rebar/sheet, animal dung. In addition to the domestic institutional improved cook stoves (ICS), promotion of institutional ICS is being carried out in hotels, teashops, schools, hostels, and barracks.
The materials required for the ICS construction are locally available and the users have to bear the cost of iron rod and installation charge only. The cost varies depending upon the place but in general it is approximately 300-400 Nepali rupees.
Problems and Solutions:
ICS is a simple technology based on scientific concept and easy to operate. Users do not face any severe technical problems during its operation. The problems may arise when ICS Promoters do not adhere to the technical specification during installation and due to negligence of users during regular maintenance.
The development of mud brick stove by Research Center for Applied Science
and Technology, Nepal (RECAST) in early nineties, which could be built
on site in users households, by trained self employed workers (Promoters)
with locally available materials gave the stove program a new look. The
collective efforts of over 25 such organizations together promoted about
40,000 improved stoves of various types (mud, metallic) in different
districts of Nepal.
184.108.40.206 Stoves for Using Honeycomb/Beehive Briquettes
For burning honeycomb/ beehive biomass briquettes specially designed stoves are required, which could either be made of metal or clay. In India normally metal stove with provision of using two honeycomb/beehive briquettes are used as shown in pictures.
List of production items used in Nepal for making biomass honeycomb/beehive briquettes and the estimated cost in Nepalese Rupee (NR) and equivalent Indian Rupee (INR) are given in Table.3.1.
Note: 1 NR = 0.6 INR
Simple or clear information about the briquette and the briquette stoves
are required, backed by the awareness, motivation and education of the
end users to ensure wider acceptance of honeycomb briquettes in rural
areas of the country.