Cooking Improvements

Improved Wood Stove

Traditional biomass fuels include fuelwood, crop residues, dung burnt in open fires, and charcoal burnt in a stove. With the exception of charcoal, fuels are typically gathered by family members, most often women and children. In the MV Sim, we assume that families are collecting fuelwood, which can lead to local deforestation. Cooking with fuelwood, and other forms of biomass, also increases exposure to indoor air pollution, particularly among women and children and, therefore, has a negative impact on health in the MV Sim.

Improved wood stove

Improved wood stoves burn biomass more efficiently and, therefore require less fuelwood. This can reduce the pressure on local environmental resources, reduce the amount of time that family members must devote to fuelwood collection, and improve indoor air quality. Since cleaner burning stoves lower exposure to smoke, which is associated with respiratory disease, they can help to lower child mortality rates and improve maternal health.

Propane stove

Currently, stoves burning propane (liquid petroleum gas, LPG), are rarely found outside of major cities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Propane Tanks
Propane stoves eliminate the need to collect fuelwood, which allows children to spend more time at school and women to spend more time on income-generating activities. From the standpoint of energy conversion efficiency, propane stoves are much more efficient than wood-burning stoves. They also greatly reduce indoor air pollution. Substituting clean cooking fuels for domestic biomass fuels has been estimated to reduce acute respiratory infections in several developing countries by approximately 30 percent. Although propane is a non-renewable fossil fuel, whereas biomass is a renewable source of energy, after considering the local environmental degradation associated with fuelwood collection, as well as health and time-saving impacts, propane is considered more desirable than continued reliance on biomass.

Propane tank

Families that are cooking with a propane stove must purchase propane tanks. In the MV Sim, the cost of purchasing propane tanks reflects the cost of transport.

For more information, see:

Ezzati, Majid, and Daniel M. Kammen. "Evaluating the Health Benefits of Transitions in Household Energy Technologies in Kenya." Energy Policy 30., no. 10: 815-826. 2002.

UN Millennium Project. "Energy Services for the Millennium Development Goals." 2005.