Wood Stove

Important Facts

  • More than 80% of all the energy spent in Rural areas is for cooking
  • Firewood is the primary source of cooking energy
  • Due to rapid deforestation there has been a scarcity of firewood
  • Collection of firewood, now takes longer time and effort
  • Conventional stoves are inefficient and Smokey
  • Women are at health hazard due to long exposure to smoke

More than 70% of Indians live in rural areas and they generally cook their food on clay stoves, called chulhas. A family of 5 to 6 persons requires about 8 kg fuels every day. The traditional chulhas are very wasteful. They use only 10% of the total heating potential of the fuel burnt in them. Another disadvantage of the traditional chulha is that they produce a lot off smoke, soot and sunburnt volatile organic matter, which not only blacken the pots and walls of the kitchen, but also pollute the indoor air and adversely affect them the health of the householders. Housewives and infants are affected the most by these pollutants, because they are most exposed to the flue gases. One study has revealed that Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) is one of the key factors of the ill health of the rural women in India. However, with a little effort, it is possible to increase the thermal efficiency of these stoves considerably. Improved fuel wood stoves would reduce:

  1. Firewood consumption substantially.
  2. Environmental hazard and thereby make their utility economical & efficient.The improved chulhas have fuel efficiency of around 42%.

Disadvantages of traditional chulhas:

  • Firewood consumption substantially high
  • Environmental hazards are high
  • Increase in Indoor Air Pollution affecting the health of the householders
  • Higher risk of fire hazards
  • Takes more time in collection of fire wood and cooking

Who are at Risk?

  • Women
  • Elderly family members
  • Children

The benefits of improved chulhas:

  • Increased thermal efficiency
  • Reduction in indoor air pollution
  • Reduced drudgery for women and children
  • Saving of firewood/biomass leading to conservation of forests
  • Employment generation in rural areas
  • Protection to rural women folk from health hazards

Requirements in Fuel Efficient Wood Burning Stove.

  • Higher fuel efficiency
  • Smoke-free cooking environment
  • Lesser cooking time
  • Easy construction and maintenance

What is Smoke? How it can harm?

If the burning biomass does not receive sufficient air, the volatile matter does not burn completely. This not only results in fuel being wasted, but also in generation of smoke and soot. Soot is formed when the un-burnt volatile matter condenses. They are about the size of bacteria contains sulphates, tree metals like lead and cadmium. They can easily be inhaled deep into our lungs, collecting in the tiny air sacs where oxygen enters the blood. They can cause respiratory diseases including asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema.

  • Fine particulates containing solid and liquid of size 10 Micrometers in diameter
  • They are about the size of a bacteria
  • Contains sulphates, traee metals like lead and cadmium
  • They can easily be inhaled deep into our lungs, collecting in the tiny air sacs where oxygen enters the blood
  • They can cause respiratory diseases including asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema

Problems due to Long Exposure to Smoke in the Kitchen:

  • Acrolein: Irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract
  • Carbon Monoxide: Angina in people with heart disease, Lethal at high concentrations.
  • Formaldehyde: Headaches, respiratory tract irritation. Probably cancer-causing
  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx): Bronchial congestion and scarring of the lungs
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): Some PAHs can cause cancer.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Respiratory tract irritation and illness. Some VOCs (e.g. benzene) can cause cancer.

Comparison between traditional wood burning Chulha and Improved chulha

Traditional Chulha Improved chulha
Very Low Efficiency (< 10%) Improved Efficiency (35-40%)
High smoke in the house Smokeless
Indoor air pollution Clean and safe indoor air
High risk of health hazards Healthy air to breath
More time to cook Faster cooking
Fire hazard Lesser chances of fire
Unregulated combustion leading to inefficiency Regulated combustion resulting in higher efficiency