Approximately 2.7 billion people worldwide continue to use firewood for their energy and cooking needs leading to negative climate change, health, and ecological impacts. Black Carbon from wood burning stoves, diesel engines and forest fires has been shown to cause as much as a quarter of the temperature increase in the Arctic region today. Efforts to replace the highly inefficient three-stone hearth stoves used in the majority of these homes with high efficiency cookstoves that cut wood use by half have met with mixed success; in India such efforts have by-and-large failed. Our team has been working on various solutions in the Mewar region of Rajasthan in western India. A resulting design for a simple, inexpensive (USD $5) device that may be simply placed in existing three-stone hearths has proven to cut wood use and diminish smoke to levels comparable to those achieved by the more expensive high efficiency cookstoves. In field tests in several households as well as in controlled laboratory experiments, it was demonstrated that this simple, unobtrusive, and inexpensive insert, called the Mewar Angithi (MA), has the potential to significantly reduce smoke emissions and related respiratory discomfort and disease in the developing world.
The MA was developed in January, 2015, and it was tested at the Government of India Cookstove Testing Center at the Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India in April, 2015. The test results showed that the MA insert reduced wood use by 63% (Efficiency of 24.55% vs. 9.18%) and Particulate Matter (black carbon) by 89% (PM: 344 vs 3051) compared to the traditional stove without the MA.
Since then, more than 4000 MA units have been deployed in India and Africa by Climate Healers and our Partners. The response from the users has been uniformly positive as the device is unobtrusive and improves airflow considerably, thereby mitigating smoke production as well as substantially reducing wood use.