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2018-02-28 | Peer Reviewed

Fuel savings, cooking time and user satisfaction with improved biomass cookstoves

Gebreegziabher, Zenebe, Abebe Damte Beyene, Randall Bluffstone, Peter Martinsson, Alemu Mekonnen and Michael Toman. 2018. “Resource and Energy Economics.” Science Direct 52: 173-185.
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Continued high reliance on traditional biomass fuels and stoves in developing countries gives rise to several human health, environmental, and livelihood issues. However solid data on the performance of improved biomass cooking stoves remains scarce. This paper provides controlled cooking test (CCT) evidence on fuel savings from a promising improved biomass cooking stove in Ethiopia. The stove is called Mirt(meaning “best” in Amharic), and is used to bake injera, the staple food in much of Ethiopia. Injera preparation accounts for about half the primary energy consumed in the country. We find that the Mirt stove offers fuel savings of 22% to 31% compared with a traditional three-stone tripod, with little or no increase in cooking time. Fuel savings in the CCTs are significant, but are substantially smaller than in laboratory testing. Users also generally report high levels of satisfaction with the stove, which is crucial for successful large-scale adoption. The fuelwood savings increase and cooking times decline over time, suggesting the importance of user experience and learning. Though the results are robust to different ways that the stoves were rolled out, conclusions regarding acceptability of the stove are still indicative, because of the CCT methodology we employ. Despite the limitations of the study, the findings suggest that the Mirt stove could have positive welfare effects for households who adopt it.