Peru Stove Project

Stoves in Peru


A Technology that has little changed since the Stone Age

All cultures are deeply rooted to customs created in the kitchen. Even today food recipes are a sacred tradition passed on from generation to generation. Western culture desires time efficiency, like cooking a meal for four, on average, in less than an hour or especially under 30 minutes. However, more than a third of the worlds population spends about 7 hours a day in front of a stove. This number is double the time exposure most Americans spend cooking, not considering the technology– or lack thereof– available to the poorest countries.

Why is this a problem and who does this effect?

Twenty percent of the world’s population is at risk of malaria; almost 50% are at risk from indoor air pollution.

More than a third of humanity, 2.4 billion people, burn biomass (wood, crop residues, charcoal and dung) for cooking and heating. When coal is included in this number, another 600 million people cook with solid fuel. 3 billion people is half the worlds population! Of these people, mostly women and children comprise 1.6 million who die from problems induced by smoke. And of the 1.6 million deaths in the world, 1 million children die from the smoke in their own home. Half of these children are under the age of 5. The poorest countries, and more importantly, the poorest families are the most effected due to low grade fuel and technology used with high pollution rates. “Women spend on average about 7 hours cooking near this inefficient stove with children nearby.” In 15 years, another 3 percent of the current population will rely on biomass for cooking and heating.

“The total cost of providing three billion people with access to healthy indoor air would be in the region of US$2.5 billion annually over the next 12 years. To kickstart an effective market in distributing low-cost smoke solutions, it is estimated that government spending and international development aid would be in the region of 20% of this total, around $500 million a year – less than one per cent of total western aid spending.”

One of the four leading deaths and diseases in the world!

Health Problems associated with smoke in the kitchen:

Acute Lower Respiratory Infection

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Bronchitis (chronic)

Lung Cancer



Low birth weight and infant mortality


Possible Solutions:

Awareness and knowledgable information

Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) aka cleaner fuel

Lesser exposure- stove hoods but this is extremely costly

Accessibility: supply within close range. On average, 2-20 hours a week are spent on collecting fuel.

Shortening cook time, changing food processing technique, cooking fewer meals, changing the types of food eaten

As opposed to improved clay stoves, mud stoves do not require kiln firing. They will become harder with every use, effectively firing themselves. Mud stoves are large, and each one is permanently built into a kitchen. The stove construction materials are available in any community that has clay soil and can be made using limited tools, only requiring a knife, a metal pot and a small hole.

PROBLEM STATEMENT: Due to inefficient and unsustainable stoves used in Peru, women and children are suffering from poor health conditions in the household. These current types of heating and cooking systems are also detrimental to the environment, cause adverse health conditions, and require limited resources that are often difficult to acquire.


1. Review more efficient and safer stove models that burn agricultural waste products.

2. Find locally appropriate design solutions/models that draw upon the local resources of Peruvian communities that the chosen stove model can be implemented in.

3. Establish a working relationship with Dr. Keese to discuss further implementation possibilities of this stove design. (Finance, ease of use, health factors, etc.)

Our goal is to learn from a study conducted in Mexico on villager adoption rates of stoves and figure out ways to improve upon the diffusion of our new technology in Peruvian villages.

Link to the study Pine 2011 (1).pdf

This PDF file contains information and comparison of different wood stoves Different kinds of stoves


1. Understand the mechanisms and theory of stoves and their combustion chambers and burn elements.

2. Understand the benefits of improved biomass stoves in rural Mexico and Peru
3. Understand how Peruvians react to the new biomass stoves. How long does it take to make food? Do they cook more? Are the easy to use? Do they like them? etc.
4. Find out who will be the early adopters for these stoves so that usage spreads throughout communities.


The graph below shows where Peru ranks with the rest of the world for new cases of lung cancer for women. Inefficient stoves cause many adverse health problems, especially in women and children who are more likely to be exposed to smoke from these stoves. They can experience effects such as watery eyes, coughing, throat congestion, vision problems and potentially cancer in the long run in exposure to smoke is persistent. This is why it is necessary to build and distribute cleaner stoves for the masses.

lung cancer.png

The graph below shows wood removal in cubic meters per country. Most Peruvians use wood burning stoves, which requires wood to be extracted from forests which can lead to deforestation, which can create negative effects on a community, ecosystem, and the environment as a whole. It is necessary that wood removal is reduced and cleaner stoves made from other biomass fuels such as crop residues and animal dung are used.


wood removal.png



Experiment 1

Mexico is leading the way for new and improved biomass stoves with the creation of the Patsari cookstove. In an experiment conducted in 2011, the stove was introduced to 259 randomly selected households in Mexico. The eight month study looked at adoption rates of the new technology. Early adopters of the stove were users who had experienced irritated eyes and used wood scrapes for fuel.These early adopters were the first in their communities to try it, had the least satisfaction with the previous stoves, and had started using the new Patsari stoves within 1 month of installation. The Patsari stove had reached maximum saturation in the community 4 months after installation where 70 percent of the community was using it. From that point on usage began decreasing until month 8 when the percentage of users remained at 55 percent usage .

An interesting point to note from the study of who we would like to learn more about are the non-adopters of the stove, which was roughly 10 percent. We would like to learn from this group so we can create a better way to lead them to adopting the technology. Characteristics of the non-adopters from the Patsari cookstove study had slightly higher income, had more children, and spent less time making tortillas per day.


Our goal is to build a mud stove with the resources the Peruvians have around them, instead of importing materials to build with. It turns out it is much easier to build an efficient, no cost stove than we first thought. Here are step by step instructions on how to build one:
1. Mix up mud or clay for the base:


2. Gather sticks and start forming the mud:


3. Select a piece of metal for a griddle:


4. Make a teepee with the sticks


5. Pack mud around the sticks


6. Make sure to leave a gap at the top for the exhaust, build a fire and you are ready to cook

Link to Site

Another stove model idea looks like this. There is a metal pipe used to push the smoke further away from the cook, preferably outside of the home.
Alternative stove method
Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.53.05 AM.png


So now that we have built a low cost, energy efficient, and safe stove to use, all we have to do is give it to all the members of rural Peruvian villages and all of our problems are solved right?
No, our problems are not solved. Yes we have a new technology that can improve the lives of many, but the question to ask is will the Peruvians use it, and if they don’t then what can we do to ensure that they will use it in the future.
Learning from experiment 1 in the Patsari Stove case study, we need to address issues that prevented the villagers in Mexico from using the stoves. Some issues from the Mexico case study we can use to improve the implementation of our stoves are:

  • Month of installation: In the Patsari example, users were less likely to adopt the stove in the rainy seasons due to complications of water leaking in their homes and getting around the flue of the stove. For our stove, we would install it the summer months when it is warm and dry to reduce this complication. This should lead to an increase in adoption rates.
  • Targeting: This involves looking at the demographic profile of people who are more likely to use the stove based on the Patsari experiment. In the Patsari experiment, early adopters tended to
    • Have less adults in the household
    • Have more education
    • Have a household in which the woman worked mainly at home

Upon diffusing our stove into the villages and houses of Peru, we will look into these factors and distribute our stoves more heavily to those who fit into this profile. From there the diffusion of technology process begins as some people who receive the stoves are will be community leaders who can influence others in the community who don’t fit the profile of a user, to use our stove.

  • Evaluation: For many stove companies or NGO’s success is defined as the number of stoves that are given out, not how many are actually continually used as a primary cookstove. For our stove we will continue to evaluate the adoption rates of our stoves in Peruvian communities and address the issues to why households are not using the stove.

To help us follow through on these, we have the experience and expertise of Cal Poly geography professor James Keese to help us address some of the issues needed to help create higher adoption rates of new stoves. Professor Keese will be away in Peru in March to conduct research on the stoves and its usage in Peruvian communities and will ask questions similar to the ones presented here to help in his research.

Group Members

Max Kirby: Senior student majoring in Agricultural Systems Management. Originally from Grass Valley, California. Enjoys riding dirtbikes, hunting and anything outdoors

Katerina Flores: Fourth year student majoring in Wine and Viticulture. She is from Salinas, California.

Jake Sikkema: Third year student from Camden, New Jersey majoring in Environmental Earth Science. On his off time Jake enjoys playing basketball.

Mitchell Moriarty: Fifth year student majoring in Parks and Recreation hailing from Santa Cruz, California. Mitch likes to “Surf bro”

Pete: Thanks for making this change. I don’t think that designing a stove should be one of your goals for two reasons. (1) in this class we really want to look into the human aspects of what is happening. (2) there are a huge number of stove designs out there. I think it is enough to learn the advantages of some over others. Have you spoken with Keese? What does he share from Peru? I think that Keese will be a much better partner than Working Villages. Keese is here, and is interested in studying this issue, and we may follow up with him next quarter. Working villages may be difficult to get a hold of. Please communicate with the Famine group who has been talking with him.

Please clean up your entry on the main page. There are important references on the bottom row and you still have links to refugee articles.

Present website grade: 6.5/10

Dear Professor,

I apologize that the website came across as our group attempting to design a stove, rather than using a design that is developed and implemented. We, as a group, absolutely are considering and looking into the human aspects of this problem and have found so many stove designs. We have developed opinions about individual stoves, too. We have met and spoken with Keese. He was a very friendly, outgoing contact. Unfortunately, he will not be able to work with us because he will be going to Peru in March and cannot answer the problem questions he posed to us. He is excited about Peru, this coming trip will answer one, if not all, of the questions about the appropriate technology of stoves. Additionally, Keese made mention he was unable to share or help due to an upcoming affiliation with an international group. We will be happy to contact our classmates.


Stoves in Peru