During the month of March, StoveTeam International is continuing to advance three major goals:
- producing stoves that are easily built and manufactured;
- upholding proper design principles; and
- increasing user satisfaction.
The solutions to these goals continuously evolve based on market demands, local needs, and available resources. In recent years, chimneys have become the desired item for local cooks, governments, and international NGOs. Because of these market demands, in 2017 StoveTeam began adapting the Ecocina to include a chimney.
The original Ecocina stove was first designed 10 years ago as an inexpensive and portable solution that lowers fuel emissions, eliminates smoke in kitchens, and prevents burns caused by open flames. By adding a chimney to increase user satisfaction, StoveTeam also needs to ensure a producible and effective stove design that maintains a fair price. While factory partners in Central America have already begun to produce their own chimney stoves, StoveTeam is partnering with them to provide resources to ensure the stoves being sold are effectively built and well maintained in the long-run.
However, this process is not easy. Program Manager, Mike Hatfield, shared that, “chimney stoves can be challenging because they require proper installation, maintenance, and replacement. They also can greatly increase the cost of a stove.”
In efforts to listen to Ecocina users in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, StoveTeam is currently working with El Salvador factory owner, Gustavo Peña, to test and validate a prototype Ecocina with chimney stove that can be sold in all three countries. So far, three different chimney prototypes have been tested. All three designs showed similar reductions in fuel over the open fire (58%-68%) and were well liked by participating cooks.
As testing progresses, the chimney prototype will continue to be improved and StoveTeam hopes to have a marketable chimney stove for local factory production by the end of 2018.