Biomass is the primary cooking fuel in Malawi with 98% of the population using firewood and charcoal powered stoves. In rural areas there is a particular reliance on firewood, with 98% of the rural population using specifically wood powered stoves. Given that 90% of the Malawian population lives in rural areas, there is strong pressure on the local natural resources resulting in high levels of deforestation.
Between 2000‐2005 Malawi lost 35% of its primary forest cover, and is continuing to suffer primary deforestation at a rate of 3% per annum. This results in Malawians walking farther to collect fuel as the population grows and wood becomes increasingly scarce. Finally, environmental pressures on forests result in erosion and less arable land.
In addition to the environmental concerns, cooking on inefficient stoves is known to cause severe negative health effects on the local population. The World Health Organization recent estimates suggest that 13,021 deaths can be attributed annually in Malawi to indoor air pollution from cook stoves. These health effects include acute respiratory conditions in children and pulmonary disease and lung cancer in adults.
The aim of this project is to distribute energy efficient cook stoves in Malawi, with a focus on rural areas. The efficient stoves will reduce the volume of fuel wood required by a household, hence reducing deforestation as well as limiting the release of noxious gases that have adverse health effects.
The Balaka region has an above average rural population of 93%. In addition, 89% of the population relies on firewood for cooking.
The stoves is based on rocket stove design. They are manufactured, distributed, and installed by local people under the training and supervision of co2 balance Malawi Ltd. Certified testing has shown these stoves to have a thermal efficiency of 37% and a fuel saving of 50% when compared to a conventional three stone stove. The improved stoves also reduce harmful carbon monoxide emissions by 90% and particulate matter by 60%. A picture of the stove is shown below.
Based on the above, the project is creating diverse, positive impacts at the local and global scale under the three pillars of sustainable development established by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: Environmental, Economic, and Social.
The project is registered under the Gold Standard.
The project uses the Gold Standard methodology: Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption
The distribution of energy efficient wood stoves result mainly in CO2 emissions reductions associated with the reduction of the combustion of wood derived from non‐renewable biomass. It is conservatively estimated that each efficient wood stove distributed in Malawi will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 3 tonnes CO2e annually and by 21 tonnes of CO2e over the initial project lifespan of 7 years. It is anticipated that after this time stoves can be refurbished if necessary to provide up to a further 14 years of useful life.
Project households continue to cook using inefficient three stone fires without the intervention of this project. Stoves are distributed to households free of charge. The only source of revenue for this project is based on the anticipated sale of Certified Emission Reductions; therefore this project is not viable without carbon credits.
This project contributes to the global mitigation of climate change. With regards to local benefits, this project enhances indoor and outdoor air quality in the area through the reduction of atmospheric pollutant levels. In addition to the benefits stated above, the project will provide the following co-benefits:
• Reduced deforestation
and degradation of surrounding forests, as less wood will be needed to
• Reduced soil erosion and nutrient loss as trees protect the land
• Reduced risk of flooding in hilly areas as trees and plants on slopes soak up rain
• Reduced poverty, as the efficient wood stove will reduce annual expenditure on cooking fuels
• Reduced cooking and wood
collection time, which will allow more time to attend other household
tasks and supervise children
• Reduced risk of attacks on firewood collectors (mainly women) in the remote areas generally used for firewood collection
• Reduction in burns and injuries as the stove is safer to cook on
• Increased local human capacity via education and employment in the distribution, production and maintenance of cook stoves