Improved ovens

Improved ovens for pit cooking consumes 22% less charcoal


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About the project Edit

Improved ovens for pit cooking consumes 22% less charcoal than a traditional ovens. In 1997, the Groupe Énergies Renouvelables, Environnement et Solidarités (GÉRES) – or Renewable Energies, Environment and Solidarity Group – launched a program to distribute improved ovens for home cooking. It strives to: reduce the consumption of wood, protect the forest, fight climate change, reduce health risks, reduce household spending on energy and support a national environmental policy. Presenting the New Lao Stove!


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

In Africa, 50% of energy needs are met by charcoal, agricultural waste or animal dung. This proportion goes to 90% in the African sub-Saharan.

The three stone oven, which is open to the elements, keeps around 8% of the heat produced for cooking, thereby losing 92%. When the fire is contained in a receptacle, 20% of the heat is kept. This is because the heat is contained in a clay combustion chamber and is directing towards the pot.

Improved ovens are fixed furnaces built essentially from local available materials found in the Sahel region like clay, sand or organic fertilizer (cow dung) and a coating of baobab leaf paste. Constructed using traditional methods, they can be easily put together. In 1.5 hours – less time than it would take to make tieboudienne, a traditional Senegalese fish dish – a clay oven can be built.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The New Lao Stove (NLS) lasts about 2.5 years. Manufacturers integrated management and quality control tools that allow them to define a solid business strategy within the economic interest group.

As many villages in Africa are now equipped with improved ovens, women no longer spend hours searching for wood that is farther and farther away because of land desertification. Freed from this chore, for the most part, they have started growing vegetables and aromatic plants in the garden.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

• rural families
• families in urban areas
• restaurant owners
• street vendors
• food manufacturers

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Making the pottery workshop profitable by manufacturing improved portable fired clay ovens on the model that was such a success in Cambodia. Costing about 3€, more expensive than a traditional metal model, this oven still consumes substantially less charcoal.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

The economic and social benefits identified as follows:

- Consolidation of micro-entreprises (oven manufacturers) through the transfer of knowledge via training sessions
- Job creation (mostly in rural areas) and training support for commercial networks (resellers and distributers)
- Better access to energy due to the decrease of purchasing costs (less wood or charcoal needed for cooking)

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