High Efficiency Stove Microenterprise

Proposal Summary: Engineers without Borders USA at the University of CO at Boulder has developed a high efficiency stove that burns cleaner and uses less fuel, thereby reducing indoor pollution, alleviating firewood shortages and deforestation. The stoves are constructed with blocks of pumice, which is abundant in Rwanda and other regions, and is robust, inexpensive, and an effective insulator. The team has worked in several locations in Rwanda over the past two years, most notably at the Mugonero Orphanage, where they installed a preliminary prototype of the high efficiency stove in 2007. Since then, additional stoves have been constructed locally and installed in the orphanage kitchen due to their success. The stoves have reduced the need for firewood by 70%. Engineers without Borders-CU chapter held a training workshop in July, 2008 at the St. Charles Lwanga Kolping Vocational Training Center in Muramba, Rwanda, where masonry students learned how to cut the pumice into blocks and construct the stoves. There is high demand for the product, and Rwandan partners such as the Kigali Institute of Technology and Management are very interested in disseminating the technology nationwide. Grant funds would be used to begin a microenterprise in Rwanda to manufacture and sell the stoves. Anticipated Outcome of Project: Development of a business model in western Rwanda to sustainably manufacture and sell stoves in partnership with Rwandan entrepreneurs. Why Project Should be Funded: This is an opportunity to support an EWB project with a strong entrepreneurial component. Work is well underway, and there is a high demand for this technology. EWB-USA shares valuable designs with other chapters working on similar systems so that technologies created by one chapter can be spread to multiple communities around the world. Results from the stove design will also be shared with the Earth Institute, which has Millennium Villages in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Moreover, if successful, the design can be transferred to any developing area with a volcanic region to provide a source of pumice. Use of Funds: Funds are requested for equipment, travel, prototyping, stipends, and small amounts for publications and communications, indirect costs, and materials and supplies.