Bringing Efficiency to the Cooking Fire through Enhanced Cookstoves

$1,000,000 | Stage 2: Testing at Scale | Environment & Global Climate Change

Biolite | India

The problem: Dangers of cooking over an open fire

Despite the discomfort and dangers of sustained exposure to smoke, 3 billion people around the world cook on open fires. Illness related to breathing smoke results in over 2 million deaths per year.

The solution: Improving cookstoves and increasing their adoption


The HomeStove by BioLite offers an alternative, reducing the amount of firewood required by families and cutting toxic pollutants by 95 percent —nearly 10 times more than other available improved cook stoves. As an added incentive for potential consumers, the HomeStove uses excess energy produced during the cooking process to power a USB charger for cellphones and other small electrical devices.

BioLite and solar powered lamp innovator, Greenlight Planet, are breaking down barriers to clean-cookstove adoption by expanding their maket-based model for making cookstoves in 200 villages in Orissa, India. Biolite and Greenlight Planet are conducting a randomized control trial with the support of researchers to evaluate how different financing mechanisms expand access to the HomeStove and whether the stove leads to improvements in wellbeing.

The potential: Cost-effectiveness, impacts, and implications

Starting in the spring of 2013, BioLite has been working with local, rural energy distributors to bring HomeStoves to 10,000 families. Through thoughtfully constructed commercial sales programs and research studies, BioLite plans to refine its scaling plan that will allow it to reach more than 1 million homes within the next five years. BioLite utilizes a market-based approach to its stove distribution, which adds value to the product, creates jobs, and stimulates local economic growth.

The pilot program will enable Biolite to further research and optimize three key components of the HomeStove project: product adoption by rural communities, carbon reduction and possible offset credits, and pre-natal and infant respiratory disease prevention.

Watch Ethan Kay’s TED talk explain how clean cookstoves are saving lives.

Last updated: August 31, 2015

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