Monday, September 13, 2010

Ceramic Stove Eases Strain On African Forests

A cooking stove that has become popular in Kenya and neighbouring countries has taken pressure off Africa’s threatened forests by reducing the demand for wood and charcoal.
IDRC began supporting research that led to the marketing of the ceramic Jiko stove in the mid-1980s, amid growing concern about deforestation and desertification. Today, surveys show that 80% of households in urban Nairobi and Mombasa use the domestic version of the stove, reducing their fuel consumption by up to 50%, reports Kenyan energy expert Stephen Karekezi.
Developed by the Kenyan agency KENGO, the ceramic Jiko now “has become almost the standard stove in Kenya,” he says.
Karekezi, a former regional manager for KENGO and now director of the Energy, Environment and Development Network for Africa, adds that several thousand institutional-scale Jiko stoves have been distributed within Kenya. Large numbers have also been exported to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and other countries.
The big institutional demand for firewood is one reason the larger stoves became a prime focus for IDRC in the 1980s, says former IDRC project officer Ron Ayling. “When you have a reasonably large school of 100 kids, they would go through quite a bit of wood cooking meals,” he says.
Karekezi agrees: “It’s clear that a major source of deforestation is the institutional use of wood. You can see trucks going to institutions with wood specifically cut down for that use.”
With a smaller combustion chamber and insulated sides that ensure less heat is wasted, the ceramic Jiko boosts the efficient use of wood. In homes, where charcoal is used, the greener technology also delivers an economic dividend. It allows poor families to use money otherwise spent on fuel toward the purchase of food.

Report Courtesy of

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