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BURN and Global Good Partner to Develop a Clean Cookstove

BURN Manufacturing announced that it has partnered with Intellectual Ventures’ Global Good fund to co-develop a clean burning, affordable and fuel-efficient wood stove for people in sub-Saharan Africa who rely on biomass fuel for cooking.

Drawing on the engineering, design and modeling capabilities of Global Good and its partners, the University of Washington Clean Cookstoves Lab and Aprovecho Research Center, the collaboration will develop a super-clean, forced-draft, wood-burning stove to add to BURN Manufacturing’s product line. Through the redesigned stove, the collaboration aims to dramatically cut harmful household emissions, minimize fuel use, and reduce cooking time—saving lives, forests, and time.

Eighty-five percent of households in sub-Saharan Africa cook their food by burning wood and charcoal, frequently in a small room with poor ventilation. The incomplete burning of these fuels generates smoke that kills more than half a million people a year – primarily women and children – from respiratory illnesses. The cutting down of trees for fuel is also responsible for more than half of forest loss in the region. Because cleaner cooking fuels—such as electricity, natural gas, LPG, and ethanol—are out of reach for most, improving the efficiency and safety of wood burning remains the fastest way to address these challenges.

To improve combustion, the co-designed stove will have a built-in, smart, forced-draft system designed to take advantage of a boom in rural electrification and in-home, pay-as-you-go solar systems in the region. Initial tests conducted by the partners showed the approach could deliver Tier 4 performance—the cleanest level of the international WHO emissions standard. Additional work seeks to improve the stove’s performance with wet wood and agricultural briquettes, reduce the wood tending that is needed, and shorten the time to boil.

“Household air pollution is one of the world’s deadliest environmental hazards,” said David Bell, Director of Global Health Technologies supporting Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill and Melinda Gates. “Placing a clean, fuel-efficient and affordable cookstove in the hands of families in sub-Saharan Africa would not only improve health, it would also greatly improve women’s lives, cut household expenses, and help to preserve the region’s forests,” added Bell.

“We would like to see every household in sub-Saharan Africa switch to renewable and zero-residue fuels. While natural gas and ethanol hold great promise, the reality is that, by 2050, 1.6 billion people will still rely on solid biomass for cooking on the continent,” said Peter Scott, CEO of BURN Manufacturing. “To mitigate this looming social, economic and ecological catastrophe, we must make wood-burning biomass stoves cleaner and more efficient. We are delighted to be part of the team that is tackling this important global challenge,” added Scott.

The stove’s innovative design will be open access.

About Global Good

Global Good is dedicated to inventing technology for humanitarian impact. Millions of people suffer and die each year in low-income countries from causes that humanity has the scientific and technical ability to solve. Funded by Bill and Melinda Gates and focused on a shared vision with Nathan Myhrvold, Global Good invents technology to solve some of humanity's most daunting problems. Global Good does this by collaborating with leading humanitarian organizations, forward-looking governments, research institutions, and corporate and private sector partners that bring our inventions to market. www.globalgood.com

About BURN Manufacturing

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Ruiru, Kenya, BURN Manufacturing (www.burnstoves.com) designs, manufactures and distributes Kenya’s best-selling, most fuel efficient, and most durable biomass cookstoves. It is the only clean cookstove company which manufactures all of its products in Kenya in sub-Saharan Africa’s only state-of-the-art, solar-powered manufacturing facility. BURN currently employs more than 250 employees in Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo; more than half of them are women.

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