Fuel Efficient Wood Stoves CDM Projects

Fuel Efficient Wood Stoves

The best energy sources are renewable — solar, wind and biogas, in that order. But they have their limitations and cannot be adopted in all situations. Wood is an energy source with problems and limitations. Some of these can be minimized, others cannot. The literature says:

Wood can be harvested poorly, burnt dirty and its heat wasted. Or, wood can be harvested sustainably, burnt cleanly and efficiently, and its energy used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

Since improved stoves are more efficient, women who use them reduce firewood collected for their daily cooking needs. During our village meetings and verification surveys, we find that improved Woodstoves have significantly contributed to the reduction of firewood consumption by more than 50%. In the beginning, women were using these improved cookstoves only for their house cooking. Cattle feed was prepared on traditional stoves. But now, more than 90% women fully use improved cookstoves for all cooking to save time and fuelwood. This is one of the great impacts.

On asking End Users about the benefits of these improved cookstoves, they say reduction in kitchen air pollution, reduced incidences of eye infections, dizziness, headache and coughing, less fuelwood usage, less time spent on fuel collection, less dependency on LPG, time saving and ease of use.

Pahadi life in the Himalayas is very difficult. Often, it is women who have to manage families while their menfolk go to cities all over India to do menial jobs and send some money home every month. End User women are now experiencing time to rest, and time for productive activities to support their families. Earlier, this was not possible with traditional stoves.

Improved cookstoves saves time spent on cooking and also on wood collection and transportation from 25-30 hours per week to 10-12 hours. This is also reducing the additional daily workload of women for fetching firewood. Reduced time for firewood collection is giving more time for helping children with their school homework. It also stops the girl child from being kept back at home.

They love the mobility of the Woodstoves. Now they can cook food anywhere according to the weather and their needs. When it is nice and sunny on a winter’s day, they take the stove outside and look at the mountains. Sometimes they sit in the courtyard. With traditional stoves this was unimaginable; they were stuck in smoke filled kitchens since Pahadi houses have very small windows in order to keep the heat.

On occurrence of horrible COVID-19 disaster, everywhere people were scrounging for their groceries and to meet energy needs. Woodstoves End Users panicked less. Though it was impossible to get everything in their village, at least they did not have to bother about LPG refills. They say that if they have enough rations and small sticks and twigs for 1-2 months, they feel safe. A normal household uses an LPG cylinder for 4-8 months. But during this pandemic they refused to refill LPG in order to avoid the risk of going to towns.

In our Woodstove projects the End Users are only women. Thus, it is a project of village women, owned by village women. This feeling geared them to participate in village meetings, improve social skills and relationships. For the past one and a half year, many men have lost their jobs and come back to the villages. We notice that relationships between wives and husbands are somewhat better than it used to be some years back. Maybe because of the climate project that their wives are running. We are not sure.

Our Woodstove Teams — Case Worker & Village Monitors — are regularly encouraging End User women to participate in other organic farming and livelihood trainings. They are also supporting them to think like business women and take up income generating activities offered by government schemes.

Some End Use Testimonies:

Munni Bhatt says "I am very happy with these stoves. Now I cook my family food in half time than earlier with a little and small pieces of fuel wood even the wetness of wood. I never even thought of this magic before this."

Shanti Devi, an Aganwadi worker, says, "After starting to use these stoves I was reaching school in time for my work. And I get time for myself. I can work on my fields because these stoves are doing great. My cooking time is less, without burning eyes. I can easily move the stoves outside and twist them according to which way the wind is blowing."

Dhanuli Devi packed her LPG stove and cylinder in the "Bhaad" (a place where villagers pack away their non-usable things). The main reason was no money. But these smart stoves worked like LPG in her life. After getting them, she never felt the pain of inability to refill LPG. Rama Devi says, "These stoves have changed my life. Now there is no need to go 5-6 km into the forest. I just to go nearby places and collect small pieces of wood that have blown in during the night. These stoves are allowing me to spend time with my younger daughter."

Narayani Devi says, "Our whole village is using these stoves. We are together reducing smoke and Carbon Dioxide. That is why we will get clean rain and good crops. It’s very pleasing when our village women are aware of climate change and their efforts towards better environment."