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By: Robert Walle
Published: 2023-10-02

Aprovecho Research Center
PO Box 1175
Cottage Falls, Oregon 97424

Those seeking wood-burning stove options can find helpful information at the Aprovecho website [http://edn.link/aprovecho]. The Aprovecho Research Center (ARC) invented the now familiar “rocket stove,” progressing much further since the original design. ARC specializes in developing stoves that meet ISO (International Organization for Standardization) emissions standards, are marketable, and are locally acceptable.

Exploring the publications section of the ARC website, I found links to numerous papers and books. The 2nd Edition (2021) of Clean Burning Biomass Cookstoves, under “Featured Publication,” is available as a PDF download and comes complete with drawings to build your own fuel-efficient stove. They have a history of stove designs that started in Honduras to reduce deforestation and grew to consider health, climate, and gender roles. 

Aprovecho’s role in Honduras put into practice the cookstove “Doña Justa,” helping conserve Tegucigalpa’s last forest while clearing the indoor air for thousands of households. Poor air quality indoors, because of smoke and particles, can lead to respiratory diseases and a lower quality of life. Today a positive change remains. Chimneys and ventilation take the smoke out of tens of thousands of grateful homes. Locals sustain the effort, through an embedded improved stove culture, with installation kits to technical assistance from “master stove builders.” 

How they do it

Cooking (and eating) is a complicated and delicate part of daily life everywhere. Like a good cook and their stove, the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer understand their individual responsibilities. Aprovecho considers the entire value chain by including all of these stakeholders. Donors require that the stoves protect the health of users, and that their donations contribute to climate change reduction. Field and lab testing bring accurate data and results into focus for necessary evidence-based decision making. They work together to offer the product at the required location for 20 USD. As Aprovecho says, they know “What to do, how to do it, how to get it to the people who need it.” 

Household and Laboratory Testing

By comparing stoves through controlled cooking (in the lab) and kitchen performance tests (at the home), using the actual cooking pots and fire-tending methods, ARC generates viable options that work in the real world. An indoor air pollution meter that measures carbon monoxide and particulate matter (2.5 micrometers) provides data under actual household conditions. 

Items of Interest

  • A new forced air innovation, the Jet Flame improves existing stoves. The jet flame is featured in the 2022 journal article “Retrofitting stoves with forced jets of primary air improves speed, emissions, and efficiency: Evidence from six types of biomass cook stoves.“ https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esd.2022.09.013
  • A recent video section shows how engineers design stoves and their test analysis. The Aprovecho Research Center won the Ashden award in 2009 for climate innovation.
  • A current newsletter section keeps interested parties up to date.

The ARC has worked in 60 countries including Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, China, Laos, Rwanda, and most recently Nicaragua.

For everyone looking for information on biomass cookstoves, check out this link, Aprovecho Research Center- testing and improving biomass cookstoves. The website has what you want, and just what you need to use biomass stoves for efficient cooking and to fight climate change.