With Caritas and Universidad Catolica de San Pablo

Factual Background

The majority of the energy poor rely on burning biomass (such as cow manure, crop residues, or collected wood) for cooking, heating, and illumination. Unfortunately, burning biomass within the home generates indoor air pollution, consisting of black carbon and other particulates, which results in 2 million premature deaths annually, primarily among women and children [WHO, UNDP, The Energy Access Situation in Developing Countries (2009)]. Additionally, black carbon is the second strongest cause of global warming [V. Ramanathan & G. Carmichael, Global and Regional Climate Changes Due to Black Carbon, 1 Nature Geoscience 221 (2008)].


This project, situated in the Ayaviri region in Peru, illustrates the feasibility of addressing both global warming and energy poverty simultaneously through the deployment of improved cookstoves and community development. It demonstrates a replicable, bottom-up approach to improving energy access.

Action Taken

STAGE ONE: Completed Summer 2010

2010 Needs Assessment
The main goal of Stage One of the Ayaviri Project was to conduct a needs assessment. From May to July 2010, a team of students from the University of Colorado Law School joined engineering students from the Universidad Catolica de San Pablo and members of Caritas, a well-known international non-governmental organization with a local presence in Ayaviri, to conduct a needs assessment (2010 NA) in five communities surrounding Ayaviri, Peru: (1) Machac Marca, (2) Quenmari Bajo, (3) Sunimarca, (4) Cordormilla, and (5) Cordormilla Bajo.

2010 Needs Assessment Analysis
In total, the 2010 NA surveyed approximately 200 community members, including both men and women with various positions within the communities. The 2010 NA data indicated that the most pressing concern faced by all five communities is the indoor air pollution and related negative health consequences resulting from inefficient cooking using cow manure as the primary fuel source. The data indicated that 100% of community members use cow manure as their main source of fuel for cooking. Of those surveyed, 88% recognized and experienced the associated negative health consequences, and 95% were interested in obtaining more efficient cookstoves. However, as we did not yet know what type of cookstove would be best suited to the local circumstances and had not demonstrated to residents the use of the cookstoves, the 2010 NA did not ascertain what the residents would be willing to pay by way of money and/or sweat equity for the installation of cookstoves in their own homes.

STAGE TWO: Completed Summer 2011

Cookstove Selection
Pursuant to the results of the 2010 NA and further consultation with relevant stakeholders, CEES plans to initiate State Two of the Ayaviri Project was completed in late May early June 2011. Stage Two initiated the process of deploying ASETs in Ayaviri, beginning with cookstoves to address the issue of indoor air pollution identified in Stage One. CEES worked with Dr. Bryan Willson, Director of the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory at CSU, and GIZ, a German cookstove developer, to ascertain which cookstove model will be the best suited for the specific needs of these five communities. Additionally, CEES sought to take into account the cookstove standards recently issued by the Peruvian government, most specifically the requirement that improved cookstoves have chimneys.

Demonstration Cookstoves
In May/June 2011, in conjunction with Caritas, the Universidad Catolica de San Pablo, and local government members, a team of CEES volunteers helped installed fifteen demonstration cookstoves in the Ayaviri communities. The purpose of these demonstration cookstoves were twofold: first, to determine whether the selected cookstove model adequately meets community needs and can be appropriately integrated into the local way of life; and second to educate residents in how the cookstoves work and their potential health benefits. Residents will have the opportunity to examine the cookstoves, learn how to use them, ask questions, and taste local food that has been prepared on the new stoves.

Qualitative Monitoring
The demonstration cookstoves also gave CEES the opportunity to collect qualitative data on the health benefits of their use. Dr. Russell Schnell, Deputy Director of the Global Monitoring Division at NOAA, has designed a simple and inexpensive indoor air pollution monitor. Consisting of a Tupperware container and a battery-operated aquarium pump, the monitor draws air through a filter where the particulates are visibly trapped. A gray scale is then used to correlate the shade of gray on the filter to get a rough quantitative estimate. By running these monitors both before and after installation of the demonstration cookstoves, CEES hopes to gain qualitative comparisons of the changes in indoor air quality that can be shown to community members. It may also be possible to send the filters to a lab for additional analysis.

2011 Targeted Needs Assessment
After a chance to actually see the demonstration cookstoves and the results of our qualitative air quality monitoring, community members will be better able to determine if they actually want a cookstove in their own home and, if so, how much they would be willing to pay for it. Payment by individual community members is an important aspect of project success, as it instills a feeling of ownership and pride in residents and increases the likelihood that the new technology will actually be adopted into community lifestyles. CEES will conduct a Targeted Needs Assessment (2011 TNA) to determine the amount (if any) that community members are willing to pay. CEES will also work with Caritas to offer a sweat equity option, where residents can contribute a certain amount towards their cookstoves by working on other community development projects, such as improving irrigation, gardens, and animal husbandry. The 2011 TNA will also give CEES a chance to collect feedback on the cookstoves and address any potential concerns before the full installation of cookstoves throughout the communities during Stage Three.

Potential Quantitative Monitoring
Stage Two of the Ayaviri Project may also involve some quantitative monitoring through collaboration with the University of Colorado Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities. A civil engineering graduate student may visit the Ayaviri communities in June 2011 to conduct additional quantitative monitoring.

A Better Cookstove
The GIZ stoves were well designed. A number of lessons were learned from the stage Two of the project. One of the most important related to the shortcomings of the crucial inner combustion chamber.  All parts, including the inner combustion chamber, were fabricated from adobe. This made it difficult to construct the inner combustion chamber to specifications. Moreover, they were often broken in transit, and were much less efficient than the metal chambers made at CSU’s Energy Conversion Labs for Envirofit. On his return Jason Prapas, a Ph.D student at the Energy Conversion Lab, who was a member of the Stage 2 team, has worked unremittingly to build an upgraded inner combustion insert for the stove, and initial data suggests that efficiency is doubled. These improved cookstoves will be ready for field testing and data verification during the last quarter of 2011.

Next Steps

STAGE THREE: To Be Completed Summer 2012

Full Cookstove Installation
Stage Three of the Ayaviri Project will proceed based on the results of Stage Two and the results of the 2011 TNA. Assuming the demonstration cookstoves installed in Stage Two are both (1) appropriate to community needs and (2) desired by community members, Stage Three will focus on providing improved cookstoves to any community member that wants one – which could be anywhere from 1 to 250 cookstoves. Depending on the responses to Stage Two, the local conditions in Peru, the availability of students for travel, and the timeline necessary to order and receive the adequate number of cookstoves, Stage Three of this project will likely take place in Summer 2012.

Payment for Cookstove Installation
Partial payment will be made for cookstove installation based on the results of the 2011 TNA, and community members will benefit directly from improved indoor air quality when the cookstoves are installed. In addition, through the sweat equity trade with Caritas, the community as a whole will benefit from the improvements made on irrigation n, gardens, and animal husbandry. The combination payment methods will enable these communities to develop in a sustainable, self-sufficient manner with pride of ownership.

Continuous Auditing and Maintenance
Auditing to ensure that the installed cookstoves are being used and maintained appropriately will be undertaken by Caritas and the University of San Pablo.