Cleaning up the air in Lao kitchens
Globally, more than 4 million people die each year from diseases associated with smoke from cooking on solid fuels like wood; in Lao PDR this figure is 6,000 per year, making smoke one of the main causes of death in the country. To help alleviate these health risks, we are launching a new project through which we are introducing advanced clean cookstove models to the Laos market.
We have already tested many stove models in cooperation with development partners such as the World Bank, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the NPA ARMI.
On Friday 25 March, together with the Institute for Renewable Energy Promotion, we hosted a kick-off meeting to explain the start of a new project called “Market Acceleration of Advanced Clean Cookstoves in the Greater Mekong sub-region,” which will operate in Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The project receives funding from “Energising Development”, a global programme managed by GIZ and financed by DFID and different European donors. The meeting was held to share experiences regarding clean cookstoves and explain the goals and methodology of the new programme.
Prior to the meeting, we conducted a preliminary controlled cooking test with household cooks preparing typical Lao dishes on several of the potential clean cookstoves, with controlled amounts of ingredients. Data on stoves’ efficiency and fuel consumption was measured, along with the cooks’ opinions of the stoves.
The well-known EU/Oxfam-funded Improved Cookstoves Programme focuses on improved versions of the popular Tao Payat stove. To date, 90,000 stoves have already been sold, reducing 8 million kg of used charcoal per year. However, these stoves still produce smoke. Research has demonstrated that in places where biomass is the dominant fuel option for cooking, only the use of advanced gasifier cookstoves can bring about positive health impacts.
Under this new project, clean cookstove models have to meet emissions and ease of use criteria that are assessed at the stove test laboratory of the Ministry of Science and Technology. If they qualify, they become eligible under a results-based finance mechanism of the project. Suppliers of clean stoves can receive an incentive after their sales of stoves are validated.
This intervention aims to accelerate the establishment of a sustainable market for clean stoves by supporting the sales of 25,000 stoves over the next three years, through sound market-based principles. We aim to engage more clean cookstove manufacturers, local distributors and wood pellet producers to further branch the market. The project calls for stove distributors (retail networks, NPAs, social or commercial enterprises) who are interested in selling clean cookstoves for household use to join the programme. Those interested in learning more can visit www.advancedcleancooking.org.