Three billion people around the world still rely on wood, charcoal and other biomass as their cooking fuel. Their options for stoves are generally limited to what can be assembled (such as a classic three-stone fire) or what can be purchased at the local market, neither of which considers thermal efficiency (fuel and emission efficiency) as a main design constraint. When fuel is not burned completely it converts to smoke. The cook and any close by family and friends are forced to inhale the smoke, which is a major contributor to lung and respiratory complications for all ages. Inhaling this smoke kills 1.9 million people each year; 85% are women and children. Secondly, if fuel is not burnt efficiently, the cook requires more fuel than necessary to prepare a meal, which ultimately contributes to massive deforestation around the globe.
Biomass cookstoves with thermal efficiency have been around for years, but many designs often do not consider the actual needs, habits and expectations of the end users. It may be that they are not intuitive to operate efficiently, are not stable with bigger pots, have unforeseen burning hazards, or miss some other hidden user requirement (e.g.. not giving off enough light to prepare other food by). On top of this, distribution efforts are often not considered in the design process, which through unforeseen marketing expenses can limit the ability to offer the stoves at an appropriately affordable price, and thus inhibit impact potentials. Catapult has been sizing up cook-stove design & implementation factors through multiple engagements with EcoZoom — from blue sky concept generation, to usability testing, to technical and graphic documentation — to ensure their product line is as comprehensively appropriate as possible.
Client: EcoZoom, USA
“EcoZoom is a social venture and certified B Corporation with the mission of bringing ecological products to the world. EcoZoom has the exclusive rights to internationally distribute stove technology designed by the Aprovecho Research Center; a leading nonprofit organization in the engineering and testing of improved cookstoves.” EcoZoom has distributed stoves in more than 30 countries and is based in Portland, Oregon.
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