[Stoves] Stove types and poverty [Was Rogerio: Pro-publicaarticle out]

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott crispinpigott at outlook.com
Thu Jul 26 09:28:44 MDT 2018


Dear Paul

You are proposing to completely unrelated things: a particular implementation of a TLUD stove, and the creation of a charcoal market.

You give numbers of 11,000 and 40,000. The number of TLUD’s far, far exceeds 11,000. There are 180,000 in Ulaanbaatar alone, though I recall you have disputed that they are TLUD’s because (for very good reasons) they are not designed to yield char as a byproduct.

The creation of a stove-char market is completely different. How far “up” can such a market be scaled?  Surely the market for  cooking stoves is far larger than the market for stove-char at break-even value?

Thanks
Crispin


Nikhil,

You wrote:
>>. I am still looking for a formulation of the problem, definition of a market, and the delivery >>chain for usable stoves and fuels, at an appreciable scale.

Are you saying that the West Bengal success story (Deganga report with 11,000, and now expanded to about 40,000), plus what I have been formulating, defining and with delivery chain is:
A.   Not good enough to get some support for some further scale up?  Or
B.   Is not known by you?   (as if you and others are not even aware of the progress and methods that are functional thus far on a break-even and even net financial gain  basis.)  Or
C.   Something else????

What should be done differently?    Or abandon because it is not sufficient?

I cannot get Kirk Smith to publicly comment specifically on the TLUD gasifiers.  So you are in good company as those who cannot see any success worthy of acknowledging with biomass-fueled stove.

Paul     (still with multiple avenues for moving forward.)

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD
Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP
Email:  psanders at ilstu.edu<mailto:psanders at ilstu.edu>       Skype:   paultlud
Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile: 309-531-4434

From: Stoves <stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org<mailto:stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org>> On Behalf Of Kirk H.
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 5:25 PM
To: Nikhil Desai <ndesai at alum.mit.edu<mailto:ndesai at alum.mit.edu>>
Cc: Crispin Pemberton-Pigott <crispinpigott at outlook.com<mailto:crispinpigott at outlook.com>>; Discussion of biomass cooking stoves <stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org<mailto:stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org>>
Subject: Re: [Stoves] Stove types and poverty [Was Rogerio: Pro-publicaarticle out]

Nikhil,

Sounds good.

I don’t think it is all Tom’s fault though.

I don’t have an enterprise for you, but you can step into something that is an enterprise, and help it to expand.  How about supporting Fred Colgan’s InStove project.

I like your response.  It shows the kind of spirit I respect.  I was afraid that your spirit had been defeated into negativism, but it is not so.

Respectfully,
Kirk H.

Sent from Mail<https://nam03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.microsoft.com%2Ffwlink%2F%3FLinkId%3D550986&data=02%7C01%7C%7Ca1edfc15e7084924123108d5f2a791aa%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636681723875741667&sdata=MkctEc9Y%2Fml0XSfujcYaaYiAh0DeL57uW%2Bg5MloMU6U%3D&reserved=0> for Windows 10

From: Nikhil Desai<mailto:ndesai at alum.mit.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 1:24 PM
To: Kirk H.<mailto:gkharris316 at comcast.net>
Cc: Discussion of biomass cooking stoves<mailto:stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org>; Xavier Brandao<mailto:xav.brandao at gmail.com>; Rogerio carneiro de miranda<mailto:carneirodemiranda at gmail.com>; Crispin Pemberton-Pigott<mailto:crispinpigott at outlook.com>
Subject: Re: [Stoves] Stove types and poverty [Was Rogerio: Pro-publicaarticle out]

Kirk:

I have offered to review all projects for free, but Tom Miles has not given me the leads for data on cost and operational experience.

Besides, a project that does not rise to the level of moving significant amounts of money and delivering significant, sustained, scalable results has limited value for the time and money.

I am still waiting for an answer to the basic question - what quantified service standard and for what quantified objective is all this EPA/WHO rigmarole at ISO TC-285 for?

All those - including people you list - who have marketed stoves that have pleased their customers in actual use get my utmost respect, admiration, and enthusiasm. I am still looking for a formulation of the problem, definition of a market, and the delivery chain for usable stoves and fuels, at an appreciable scale. Something that governments can put their money into, instead of those contracts to GACC and EPA/DfID contractors that have produced nearly nothing.

Why, the Dutch/Deutsche Bank money for the Clean Cooking Working Capital Fund couldn't move much money beyond BioLite, Envirotech, and had to be shut down because nobody else was found bankable.

Do you have bankable enterprises in mind? Let's start talking money instead of boiling water.

Money is positive.

Nikhil

------------------------
Nikhil Desai
(US +1) 202 568 5831
Skype: nikhildesai888

On Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 4:03 PM, Kirk H. <gkharris316 at comcast.net<mailto:gkharris316 at comcast.net>> wrote:
Wow!  Life must be bleak for you guys.  ☹

I suggest that to get out of your doldrums you support some positive people and projects, examples like Dr. Anderson, Dr. Nurhuda, Dr. Paul Taylor,  Rebecca Vermeer, Alexis Belonio, Dean Still, or other of your choice.  😊

Kirk H.

Sent from Mail<https://nam03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.microsoft.com%2Ffwlink%2F%3FLinkId%3D550986&data=02%7C01%7C%7Ca1edfc15e7084924123108d5f2a791aa%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636681723875741667&sdata=MkctEc9Y%2Fml0XSfujcYaaYiAh0DeL57uW%2Bg5MloMU6U%3D&reserved=0> for Windows 10

From: Nikhil Desai<mailto:pienergy2008 at gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 12:18 PM
To: Xavier Brandao<mailto:xav.brandao at gmail.com>; Rogerio carneiro de miranda<mailto:carneirodemiranda at gmail.com>
Cc: Crispin Pemberton-Pigott<mailto:crispinpigott at outlook.com>; Discussion of biomass cooking stoves<mailto:stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org>
Subject: Re: [Stoves] Stove types and poverty [Was Rogerio: Pro-publicaarticle out]

Rogerio:

I generally think that all statements about cookstoves are contextual and it is not too difficult to find anecdotes on two or more sides of any issue.

That said, I find it a general truism that stove advocates have over-emphasized fuel savings and that this obsession - especially when measured with unreliable test methods - has been the Achilles heel of many "projects." (That the "projects" universe has certain damning restrictions is another matter, efficiency being only one such.)

I saw rocket stoves production and use only once, and came away feeling it must have some market somewhere, for grant givers if not users. I have seen other examples of "fuel-saving" and "smokeless" biomass stoves; little attention to fuels, meals, cooks. Money is a secondary problem from public policy perspective; subsidies can be designed to accelerate the uptake of stoves and fuels if they are going to be used, even with stacking.

As for "poor households", I wonder if there has ever been any systematic study with stratified poverty and multiple fuels/stoves/meal types. In "poverty" literature, it has long been accepted that survey data on expenditures, while they help characterize income poverty, say nothing about the processes of poverty and non-income dimensions of poverty. (See UNDP/OPHI reports on Multi-dimensional Poverty Index.]

And it is next to impossible to get reports on relative price differences across different populations of the poor, so it is impossible to tell just how the markets for the poor are working. Take, for instance, a ratio of a cheapest commercial meal (safe enough to eat and feed children) to average day-labor wage rate, or a ratio of a kg of local bread to a liter of milk, or the price of the most common mattress to the most common mobile phone. You get the idea. Without such information it is impossible to distinguish one customer group from another and design, test economical stoves accordingly. The rich are alike everywhere, the poor are different from place to place, time to time.

That is, if the objective is to serve the poor, we don't have the barest of information to understand poverty, which keeps changing in different dimensions.

I fully agree with you that "A really good biomass stove is expensive for very poor households". But then the questions are,

i) What does a very poor household want in an improved stove - reliable fuel efficiency or low smoke, or, often, nothing, because the head of the household wants to fix a window or throw a party?;
ii) What is "good enough" in the sense of "marketable, usable" for not-so-poor households and what all determine the overall economy of cooking - not just costs of competing stoves and fuels but availability and cost of water or food ingredients;
iii) Are there "cooking systems" options that actually help alleviate poverty in terms of freeing up cash savings or time?

I have observed that "commercial cooking" does address this last question. Some ten years ago, Anil Rajvanshi came up with the idea of rural cafeterias for the working poor, which was the other side of the same coin - outsource cooking.

Let me give two examples - injeras in Addis Ababa (which I visited often between 1992 and 2007) and tortillas in Central America (which I haven't).  Why haven't "really good biomass stoves" made any dent in that market?

As I started telling colleagues some years back, "While you have made money on writing books for poor people's cooking, they have chosen to get rich enough to afford LPG and electricity." And "You are still thinking of yo' mamas when you think of saving wood; think of yo' dottas." (Remember Kirk Smith's epiphany watching young women in rural India swooning over Philips stove, "It burns like gas!" )

Why has it been so difficult to develop and prove "Burns like gas" biomass stoves? This was the headline of a 2012 paper by Kirk Smith and Karabi Dutta. At the time, there was a lot of talk of Advanced Biomass Stoves, in India and in Central America at least.

It is too easy to blame GACC. The illuminati at Lima and the Hague chose how to spend EPA money - on New Source Performance Standards, applicable to any country that chooses, just not the US. GACC was just an excuse to commit and disburse monies so US Secretaries of State could boast and UN Foundation could profit.

Saving the poor is as much of a delusion as saving the earth. Both are inscrutable. But different religions offer salvation.

Nikhil
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nikhil Desai
(US +1) 202 568 5831
Skype: nikhildesai888

On Mon, Jul 23, 2018 at 8:55 AM, Rogerio carneiro de miranda <carneirodemiranda at gmail.com<mailto:carneirodemiranda at gmail.com>> wrote:
My 2 cents of contribution.....

First cent: I agreed with Crispin that "Rocket Stove dimensionalism where ratios are held sacred, more than function" is part of the problem. Usually we see rocket powered stoves with fuel feeding entrance too small to produce  enough energy to satisfy users. Saving fuels is preferred to practical use.  Too mall fuel feed entrance frustrate users by not delivering enough energy, and by requiring more work in order to split wood into very thin pieces.

Second cent: A really good biomass stoves is expensive for very poor households. To make a robust, clean (not leaking smoke indoors), efficient, and practical (cook, bake, warm space and heat water)  internal combustion biomass stove,  is much more expensive than mass produced external combustion LPG stove. Good biomass stoves in LDC is usually hand produced, and does not achieve low cost, as if mass scale produced.

Rogério



Em sex, 13 de jul de 2018 às 08:43, Crispin Pemberton-Pigott <crispinpigott at outlook.com<mailto:crispinpigott at outlook.com>> escreveu:
Dear Xavier

Good to hear from you as always.

Your summation on global failure (compared with hoped-for results) can be repeated by looking from another angle:

My view is that the main influencers, be they individuals or institutions, display monomaniacalism resulting in not only the failure to achieve their touted goals, but also causing others to fail where they might have succeeded.

Monomania means fanatically going after one thing.

We see:

  *   TLUD as a method of burning promoted because it burns that way (gasificationism)
  *   Char making for non-cooking purposes, i.e. to save the planet
  *   Rocket Stove dimensionalism where ratios are held sacred, more than function
  *   Numerous, spurious health claims, vague attributions and unbelievable causal assertions (ameliorism)
  *   Fuel efficiency preferred over function (thermalism)
  *   LP Gas promotion in a sector dominated by carbon-neutral fuels (unilinealism)
  *   Speculative fund-raising by imputing health benefits based on wonky methods and models (shamanism)
  *   Unapologetic insistence on the use of the WBT, an unpublished, unreviewed test method known to have numerous problems with no skill in forecasting performance in use (desperately trying not to have been wrong or careless)
  *   Using a single fuel with a single moisture content as the ‘standard’ with which to rate absolute or comparative performance (uniformitarianism)
  *   Selling cooking stoves as a solution to deforestation
  *   Selling cooking stoves as a solution to general air pollution
  *   Selling cooking stoves as a solution to family health problems
  *   Selling cooking stoves as a solution to IAP
  *   Selling cooking stoves as a solution to sexual violence in refugee camps
  *   Selling cooking stoves as a solution to drudgery and time inefficiency

One begins to ask, “Is there anything a cooking stove cannot solve?”  An observer might legitimately ask, “If improved cooking stoves are capable of solving so many problems, why don’t we see more people buying and using them?”

Looking at Darfur, we can learn a thing or two because they have had the most interventions. Some homes have been given no less than 10 “improved stoves” by competing agencies (I refer, of course, to the Stoves Wars of Darfur.)  So what gets used? What do women and cooks prefer if you watch them, interview and ask?

Two stoves are popular: One is the all-mud stove developed locally by Practical Action, because it holds the pot properly and cooks using a variety of available biomass materials. The other is the Darfur stove from Berkeley, which when turned upside down makes a good platform for cooking the main type of pancake, which the mud stove does not. Turned the right way up, the all-metal Darfur stove makes a passable charcoal burner though it is not very fuel-efficient as it was designed to burn wood. Charcoal is a preferred fuel because, according to the cooks, “It is cheaper to buy than wood.” Cecil Cook found the same thing in the suburbs of Maputo. Thermal energy from wood was not a good offer, and Shangalane, the hard, expensive charcoal, was by far the best deal in terms of energy delivered per $.

What are the cooks monomaniacally interested in? How well do the proffered “solutions” match the preferences and inclinations of the cooks?

At a minimum, we can say there seems to be a mismatch between what cooks want and do, and how stoves are imagined and manufactured.

Knowing how to burn is not the same as knowing how to cook. (In my case it is the same thing – burning.) Cecil the Cook attended the blowtorch school of cuisine. That requires a skillset I don’t have. When it comes to deep-fried dinner, I will support my local diner.

Regards
Crisp’n’delicious


Dear Paul,

Thanks for sharing this very good paper.
It brings a good reflection upon all those years. Yet it still didn’t answer the question: why didn’t it work?
Because the improved cookstoves were not adopted. But why?

The stoves were not adopted because they were not good enough. The problem is not a problem of adoption, of customers. The stoves were, and still are the problem. If the first Iphone was 3000 USD, with an autonomy of 20 minutes, and very slow when navigating, no one would have bought it -> back to the R&D and engineering department, try again and better.

For the improved cookstove sector:

  *   A lot of investment in combustion and stove R&D was needed: it never happened

  *   The GACC needed to address the problem of the WBT as soon as there were concerns with it. The GACC never did. Even now, July 2018, the first testing protocol on the GACC website is still the WBT. Results: the WBT kept testers and manufacturers into a swamp of under-performing stoves with over-performing results.
  *   Poor products were developed, tested, distributed in villages, and ended-up like Cummins stoves.

One needs to admit his/her mistake, before being able to correct them and move forward. This never happened.
There’s little mystery behind that global failure.

Best,

Xavier








-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: winmail.dat
Type: application/ms-tnef
Size: 101127 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://lists.bioenergylists.org/pipermail/stoves_lists.bioenergylists.org/attachments/20180726/83d1571c/attachment.bin>


More information about the Stoves mailing list