The “Zero Carbon” project aims to fight and reduce health, environmental and social impacts caused by the use of traditional cooking methods and fuels. This can be achieved by the introduction of improved cookstoves and alternative fuels which are more sustainable from both an environmental and an economic point of view.
Energy and health
May2019 – On going
The most widespread cooking methods in Madagascar are open fire, mainly user in rural settings, and reshoo, simple metal and concrete braziers, widely used in urban settings. These rudimentary methods, characterised by low energy efficiency and high pollutant emissions, are often practiced inside homes, endangering the health of inhabitants due to the prolonged exposure to combustion fumes. Respiratory infections caused by traditional cooking methods are the second leading cause of mortality in Madagascar.
Furthermore, the widespread use of firewood and charcoal as fuel has huge environmental impacts as it contributes to deforestation, which severely threatens biodiversity and ecosystems.
Finally, the burden and time spent on fuel collection and production also has significant social impacts, especially for women and children.
Scientific studies show that indoor air quality is mainly determined by three factors: cooking method, fuel type and room ventilation.
Based on these studies, we have designed an improved cookstove by expelling combustion fumes, reducing the amount of required fuel and reducing household accidents, thus offering a more efficient, cleaner, cost-effective, safer solution.
Our cookstove is designed and constructed from mud, a material that is easily available in the local environment at no cost. In this way, the beneficiaries will be able to repair and maintain their cookstoves themselves thus ensuring their durability.
The exhausts extraction system ensures a healthy and clean environment during the food cooking process.
Improved biomass combustion allows to save up to 50% of fuel with respect to traditional open-fire cooking.
In improved cookstoves, the combustion process occurs within a combution chamber, thus reducing the risk of domestic accidents compared to traditional cooking methods.
- Improvement of indoor air quality, safety and hygiene conditions of cooking practices.
- Reduction of environmental and social impacts related to wood harvesting and coal production.
- Raising awareness of local communities on problems related to traditional cooking methods and encouraging them to adopt virtuous behaviours.
- Scalability of the project through the social inclusion of vulnerable people.
The complexity of the Zero Carbon project and its multiple objectives, require a temporal breakdown of its timeline into phases. In order to accomplish the specific objectives of the project, the activities and sub-activities have been divided into four different phases.
feasibility analysis and prototype
The first phase started in April 2019. It has been conducted between Italy and Madagascar. This phase includes a preliminary analysis of the context of intervention together with the study and design of several prototypes of improved cookstoves.
pilot test and alternative fuels
This phase, will start in May 2023, involve the design, construction and on-site testing of improved cookstove pilot models in order to test their operation and gather feedback from the local population. In addition, in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano, surveys and tests will be conducted to assess the quality and availability of alternative fuels.
The next step, once the functionality of the improved cookstove has been tested on site and their layout adapted to the specific needs of the local population, will be to implement the solution on small-scale among the largest possible number of families in different villages within the region.
In line with the final objective of the Zero Carbon project, the fourth and final phase foresees the large-scale diffusion of improved cookstove and alternative fuels. For this reason, Kukula aims to start a social micro-enterprise, run by a team of local young people and women, which will construct, promote and distribute the improved cookstoves.