Biomass Fuel and Cookstoves

Research on clean fuel and cookstove technology

Sifting char at TEWDI Uganda 

MIT students learn how to use simple technology to make char from waste

D-Lab's fuels and stoves testing facility

The need for improved cooking solutions

Lean Research for International Development is an approach to field research in the contexts of poverty and development work which seeks to maximize benefit and minimize burden and waste for all stakeholders.
Building on human-centered approaches to development and design, Lean Research places the experience of the research subject at the center of the research activity. 
Lean Research is rigorous research that is also respectful, relevant and right-sized. By creating a respectful and enjoyable experience for human subjects in the context of research questions that are relevant to key stakeholders—including human subjects—Lean Research seeks to: 
Increase the quality of information gathered through research
Improve the usefulness of research findings for key stakeholders
Enable both the research process and outputs to benefit study subjects and their communitie

2.7 billion people worldwide rely on traditional uses of solid biomass fuels to meet their daily energy needs, an increase in 38 million over last year (IEA 2014). Traditional means of cooking pose acute and chronic health risks, introduce time burdens on women and children, contribute to unsustainable harvest of forests, and in many cases, represent a significant cost burden on base of pyramid households. Without major policy changes, the number of households relying on solid fuels will continue to increase through 2050.

D-Lab is committed to addressing these issues through:

Applied research to evalulate existing fuel and stove technology and design improved solutions

Support for a community of social entrepreneurs who are supplying clean fuels and stoves to their communities

Engagement in international agreements to increase the quality, availability, and sustained adoption of clean cooking technology

Improved cooking solutions with real-world partners

D-Lab's approach to helping users climb the energy ladder is to focus on scaling solutions by engaging with field practitioners. D-Lab's fuel and stove research team helps technology developers overcome challenges and meet the needs of their customers. Empowering producers to reach scale can bring needed solutions to users in the near-term. From local producers of waste-derived alternative fuels, to multinational efficient stove producers, we seek to engage with a variety of stakeholders to pursue lasting solutions.

D-Lab fuel and stove testing

The team at D-Lab is developing innovative methods for testing and evaluating cooking technology in the lab and in the kitchen. Our team believes that testing and evaluation are critical to designing a suitable product that offer users and the environment a variety of benefits, and we are working on a range of approaches to measuring performance and outcomes.