In December of 2012, InStove conducted a pilot project in Dakar, Senegal as part of a national campaign promoting energy-efficient cookstoves. The field test was a functional demonstration: traditional food cooked on InStove’s 100 Liter Stoves fed guests at the Gamou celebration, a yearly religious festival that draws tens of thousands of Senegalese from all over the world.

InStove collaborated on this project with the German International Development Organization’s Program to Promote Renewable Energy, Rural Electrification and Sustainable Use of Domestic Fuel (PERACOD). In Senegal, almost the entire rural population and 30 percent of urban residents cook with wood, charcoal, inefficient stoves, or over open flames. These unsustainable cooking practices generate high demand for fuel – leading to the uncontrolled logging which threatens the future of Senegal’s cooking fuel supply and also exacerbates deforestation, erosion and the loss of habitat and topsoil. High levels of smoke from traditional cooking threaten the health of the environment and the cooks – usually women.

InStove’s high-efficiency stoves address these problems in three ways: by reducing the demand for fuel, by reducing harmful emissions and by shifting demand for fuel from the large wood and charcoal currently used, to small wood (3-5cm in diameter) and biomass briquettes – both sustainable to produce.

In this field test, InStove’s 100 Liter Stove consumed 80 percent less fuel than traditional cooking methods, reduced cooking time by half and significantly reduced smoke emissions. The stoves remained safe to touch while in operation, and were operated without difficulty even though the cooks had little time to be trained in their use.

As part of the consultancy, InStove evaluated stove manufacturing in Dakar, where about 20 different shops produce household cookstoves. In these small-scale operations, skilled craftsmen do most of the work cutting and shaping metal with basic hand tools while sitting on the ground. The largest of these factories employs six workers and assembles several stoves a day. Improving the ergonomic conditions of workers, the integrity of material supply chains, the quality of tools available and the security practices of the local factories would lead to significant gains in the stove-building sector.

In Senegal, InStove could lead the way to more efficient assembly and manufacturing and revolutionize stove production in the sector through its marriage of 19th century shop techniques and 21st century materials science. in December, 2013, InStove brought 100 stoves to Senegal for an even larger-scale demonstration at the Magal Touba celebration with the support of GIZ.