Berkeley Air Monitoring Group (Berkeley Air) was asked to combine rigorous quantitative stove performance testing using the Controlled Cooking Test protocol with as much qualitative assessment of the acceptability and usability of each stove as feasible during a time-limited visit to a refugee camp designated by USAID. At USAID’s request, UNHCR agreed to host and facilitate the stove performance testing at the Dadaab refugee camp, located in northeastern Kenya.

Five manufactured stoves were selected to be tested in the Dadaab refugee settlements. In addition, a “three-stone fire” or (“open fire”) was also tested because it is the most generalizable baseline stove.
  • Envirofit G-3300 Stove
  • StoveTec Wood Stove (26 cm)
  • Philips Natural Draft Stove
  • Save80 Stove
  • Vesto - The Variable Energy Stove

Twenty refugee women took part in the study – six or seven cooks in each settlement – to conduct a total of 214 Controlled Cooking Tests (CCTs). The CCT is one of three standardized cookstove testing protocols commonly used in the household energy field to evaluate and compare technologies. The CCT yields two main quantitative outputs: the amount of wood and time required to complete the task of cooking a standardized local meal, in this case rice with tomatoes, onions, and spices. The CCT was chosen as the basis of this study because it provides a standardized comparison of stove performance within the real-world parameters of local fuel, food, and cooking practices.

Conclusions

  • All five tested stoves outperformed the open fire, requiring significantly less fuel to cook the test meal. This result is not a foregone conclusion, as a skilled operator can cook very efficiently on an open fire.
  • The study’s strong consistent results demonstrate the quality of these five stoves and suggest it is likely that this performance differential would continue to be measurable across various operators and situations.
  • Fuel efficiency is not the sole determinant of user preferences. Ease of use, safety, level of smoke, and taste of food are also key factors in the choice, assuming all models are equally available and affordable.
  • None of these stoves offered noteworthy savings in cooking time.
  • Familiar stove technologies and designs may be more readily accepted by potential beneficiaries, and therefore easier to introduce in humanitarian situations, where time and security constraints may limit extensive training.
  • Technologies that require more behavior change on the part of the end user will also require more significant training on proper use than those that are more similar to current practices.
  • Addressing fuel requirements is critical to successful adoption as users are not necessarily willing or able to chop fuel to accommodate improved stove requirements.

Read the report in full here USAID: Evaluation of manufactured wood-burning stoves in Dadaab refugee camps, Kenya