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 pyrolytic kitchens and alternative fuels which are more sustainable from both an economic and an environmental point of view.
Pyrolysis is a thermochemical process which allows to separate the combustion phases and produce an inflammable gas that, once mixed with air oxygen, burns in a cleaner and more efficient combustion process with respect to traditional methods.
By separating the biomass from the flame, it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions which remain trapped in the biomass that slowly carbonizes and turns into charcoal (biochar), the only product left from the process.
The complete biomass combustion allows to reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions by 15-30% and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by 50 to 90% compared to traditional cooking methods.
Complete biomass combustion allows to save up to 75% of fuel with respect to traditional open-fire cooking.
In pyrolytic cooking stoves, the combustion process occurs within a chamber, thus reducing the risk of domestic accidents compared to traditional cooking methods.
Biochar, which is rich in nutrients, is a great soil enhancer: It reduces its acidity, improves water retention and allows the soil to stock CO2 into the ground.
Respiratory infections, caused by traditional cooking methods based on high-emitting stoves, are the second cause of mortality in Madagascar. In addition, the widespread use of firewood and charcoal as fuel sources (used by 99% of the population) contributes to deforestation, which seriously threatens biodiversity and ecosystems of the entire island. The factors above, combined with the burden of fuel collection and production (mainly affecting women and children), also have significant social impacts.
To date, the most widespread cooking methods in the north-western region of Madagascar are open fire, reshoo tole (metal brazier) and reshoo cement (cement brazier). All are characterized by high emission rates and low energy efficiency.
Regarding fuels, only firewood (harvested in the surrounding forests) and charcoal (illegally produced in the mountains or in the nearby district of Ambanja) are used on the island of Nosy Komba.
Scientific studies show that indoor air pollution is mainly determined by the following factors: the cooking method, the type of fuel used and the ventilation of the environment.
Based on these studies, we designed an improved pyrolytic kitchen, which includes the TLUD pyrolytic cooker, thus offering an efficient, clean, cheap and safe solution. Additionally, all materials used to design the kitchen are available locally.
Combat and reduce health, environmental and social impacts caused by traditional cooking methods and fuels by implementing improved pyrolytic kitchens and alternative fuels which are more sustainable from both economical and environmental point of views .
- 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 and lasted for one year. It was conducted between Italy and the island of Nosy Komba, Madagascar. This phase included a preliminary analysis of the context of intervention together with the study and design of the first prototype of a TLUD (Top-Lit-Up-Draft) pyrolytic cookstove, which will become the heart of the improved pyrolytic kitchens.
pilot test and alternative fuels
This phase, started in May 2020, involves the design, construction and on-site testing of improved pyrolytic kitchens pilot models in order to test their operation and gather feedback from the local population. In addition, surveys and tests will be conducted to assess the quality and availability of alternative fuels.
The next step, once the functionality of the improved pyrolytic kitchen 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 pyrolytic kitchens and alternative fuels. For this reason, Kukula aims to start a social micro-enterprise, run by a team of local young people and wome, which will construct, promote and distribute the pyrolythic kitchens.
For more information download here the activity report of the phase A