From the Lab to the Marketplace Ten Years Later, Energy Efficient Technologies from Research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley Lab logo (left) with six rows of gray dots transitioning to a line art drawing of a cityscape and residential houses.

Efficient Cook Stoves for Darfur

Beginning in 2003, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and another 2.2 million have become internal refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. Although the refugees are relatively safe inside the refugee camps, they risk murder and rape when they leave to fetch firewood. To reduce the amount of firewood the refugees need, Berkeley Lab scientist Ashok Gadgil modified an existing cookstove design to create one that is 75% more energy- efficient stove than the three-stone stove traditionally used in Darfur, and is appropriate to the environmental conditions and food preferences of the local inhabitants.

Early concepts and working prototypes of cook stoves.

Final sketches and finished product for the Darfur Cook Stove.

Ashok Gadgil, Christina Galitsky and colleagues traveled to Darfur in late 2005, with support from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In Darfur they tested three different energy-efficient cook stoves. They found one to be relatively easy to make from local materials, performed well in the conditions in Darfur, and used about 50% less fuel.

Returning to the U.S., Gadgil worked in early 2006 with a team of students from the University of California, Berkeley campus to improve the performance of the stove further. Their modified stove uses one fourth the amount of fuel as the stoves currently used in Darfur. During late 2006, collaboration with the San Francisco Professional Chapter of Engineers without Borders improved the manufacturability of the "Berkeley-Darfur Stove" without compromising performance. The stove currently costs $30 when built locally in small quantities, but should cost $20 when produced in volume (including a modest profit to the local manufacturers) and will annually save each household in the Darfur refugee camps $250 worth of firewood. Berkeley Lab is currently seeking funding for manufacturing the stove in Darfur or nearby regions. A pilot project to build 3,000 stoves was in early stages at the start of 2007.

Testing the Darfur Cook Stove at the Berkeley Lab.

Women at Abu Shouk camp talk with us about how the stove will cook.

The first set of stoves manufactured in Khartoum along with a metal worker who helped build them. These stoves are now on their way to IDP families.

In November 2006, a 50-stove technical field trial in IDP camps began. Fifty stoves were given to fifty IDP families, split evenly between North and South Darfur. The families were trained in efficient fire-tending techniques and then used the stoves for their daily cooking for three weeks.