Indoor Cooking and Ventilation

Good start. Do you have some designs? What is your plan? Conclusion? What are the challenges you foresee? What are some assets to leverage?

Indoor Cooking and the Air Pollution Problem in Paraguay

Amanda Eskildsen, Corey Ewert, Jessica Grant, & Jack Barker

Background: In UNIV-391, our primary goal is to identify a problem or need in a developing country, then, after researching and exploration of possible avenues, propose a solution or means to the problem or need.

Problem Statement: Poor people in Paraguay suffer illness from smoke inhalation due to improper ventilation while cooking in their homes.

  • 19% of Paraguayans live in extreme poverty.
  • 40% lack a cooking stove in their home.

Goal: We are attempting to adapt and potentially improve upon a model of low-cost, high-efficiency stove originally prototyped in Guatemala by Pete Schwartz’ Guateca program for home use in Paraguay. The main concern lies with reducing the amount of smoke released into the open air of the homes in question.

Profile View Schematic Of the Proposed Lorena Stove Model


  • Minimize Air Pollution:We want to find a way to reduce the amount of black soot released into the air of the home, which may be accomplished through several possible avenues.
    • Containment and redirection of smoke so that it may not pollute the air of the home.
    • Physical filtration of fire exhaust to remove airborne particles that may cause lung damage or illness.
    • Use of a cleaner fuel or burning technique to reduce the amount of pollutants produced from burning.

  • žWhy they are in need
    • 19% or Paraguayans live in extreme poverty:40% lack a cooking stove in their home
    • Up to 26,000 deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (WHO)
  • Efficiency:We want to maximize the utilization of the heat produced from burning.
    • Containment of heat (and therefore smoke) produced to prevent it from leaving the system where it is undesirable.
    • Transfer of heat from the stove to the environment in a controlled fashion to permit conductive heating of the home.
    • Proper insulation will be necessary.

  • Cost Effectiveness:Poor populations, such as those in Paraguay, cannot adopt a technology if it is too costly, so we are researching methods of lowering the cost of production.
    • Using materials domestic to the region will help to lower costs. Importing is relatively expensive and not always practical depending on local market infrastructure.
    • Simplicity of design will be important to the continued use of a technology in developing nations. Not only will this make the stove cheaper to produce, but will allow for its manufacture and maintenance by the people for whom it is intended.
    • Along with overall design, cheap materials such as clay, organic waste, and straw will of course reduce the cost of production
    • Given their limited budget, minimizing overall fire wood expenditures by building a more fuel efficient stove would help immensely

  • Education:By simply educating the people on the necessity of containing/ exhausting smoke and how to maximize fuel efficiency would be a cheap way to ensure the implemented chance is maintained
    • Most impoverished people do not attribute any negative health correlation with smoke inhalation.
    • Many intentionally keep smoke indoors to keep the house warm.
    • Educating people on how to properly dry firewood would greatly reduce smoke density and increase fuel efficiency
    • Make sure people know how to fix stove or chimney if anything break
  • Lorena Stove: Benefits
    • 1.Cooks Faster
    • 2.Less Smoke
    • 3.Easy to Use
    • 4.Safe to Use
    • 5.Affordable
    • 6.Heat Retention
    • 7.Environmentally Friendly
  • Materials most readily available to Paraguayans
    • Clay
    • Mud
    • Grass (banana leaves)
    • Water
  • One Way to Reduce Ventilation:
    • Add kitchen attachment to side of house (2 brick walls and a roof) with hinge glass windows and Lorena Stove.
      • Used by Habitat for Humanity in projects in Central/South America (especially Nicarauga)
      • Families would be provided with a small interest free loan and make small monthly payments in order to receive this service.
  • Properly drying the fuel source will produce a cleaner, safer, and hotter fire.
      • Wet wood absorbs more thermal energy to evaporate moisture, thus producing a cooler flame
      • Water vapor is an ideal medium for the transportation of black soot and combustible carcinogens such as Carbon Monoxide
  • Possible Obstacles:
    • Need for a new stove is not in high demand as many people would rather use the money on more important things to them (such as food, more adequete shelter, land tenure, etc.)
    • Educate populations on the health benefits of a lorena stove (children can live longer/healthier and don’t have to spend money on asthma medication in the futurePicture1.jpg).
  • Distribution:
    • Focus on individual communities
      • Find people who have a vested interest in exploring this technolology
      • Construct a stove with them
      • Use stove as a model
      • Have locals teach others by helping them construct their own stoves


I don’t understand… I see below a cross section of a greenhouse. Please explain, change?
An example of the type and quality of stove currently used by poor people in Paraguay.