A Smokeless Cookstove Revolution for Indian Families

By Russell Collins

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Cooking Smoke Kills women and children... but we have a solution!

The Smokeless Cookstove (Chulha) Kit

Contains everything needed to make a Smokeless Cookstove... read more about this below:

This is a typical cooking situation

This is cooking with a Smokeless Cookstove

Smokeless Cookstoves:

1. Are cheaper to run (uses less fuel)

2. Burn smoke to release more heat (less toxic to be around)

3. Burn hotter which means faster (less time cooking)

4. Made with local materials (cost less or nothing to make)

5. Are adaptable (suits a wide range of situations)

6. Are repairable (anyone can make, fix and remake using local clay)

7. Are transferable (anyone can teach someone how to replicate)

8. Empower the user through non-monetised sharing of ideas!

The Problem...

According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, and more than 800 million people are impacted by exposure to HAP (Household Air Pollution).


"Regular exposure to smoke from cooking and heating fires is directly linked to severe health impacts, with an estimated eight people per minute (some 4.3 million per year) dying globally from it, accounting for more deaths each year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined."


Due to their long exposures every day at the home's hearth, women and young children are particularly at risk!

  • Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.
  • Over 4 million people die prematurely each year from illness attributable to the household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels.
  • More than 50% of premature deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 are caused by the particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.
  • 3.8 million premature deaths annually from noncommunicable diseases including stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer are attributed to exposure to household air pollution.
  • Link to Data: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en...

What can be done about it

There are quite a few alternative smokeless cookstove options and programs attempting to share their solutions with varying degrees of success. Many of these stoves are manufactured products that cost significant amounts to produce, distribute, train to use, maintain and service. As a result, many fail or have limited ability to scale up to any significant degree.

Our idea is based on the simple premise...

"...give a woman a fish, her family eats for a day, teach her to fish and her family eats for life".

We have developed a smokeless cookstove that can be made by anyone with readily available materials (dirt, clay, straw, water and a puffed grain).

The Smokeless Chulha Kit!

We have worked up a new concept in a production factory (at Himalayan Rocket Stove, a Social Enterprise that is supporting us in India) to make kits that have everything needed for someone to make their own smokeless cookstoves.

We call this the Smokeless Chulha Kit, something that you can buy here and we will see that it is delivered to a needy family or a suitably located organisation to use where it is most needed.

We can also send you a kit anywhere in the world! We'll work out the postage and add that to the total and this kit can be yours, or sent to your favourite organisation anywhere you like.

The Smokeless Chulha Kit contains:

  1. 1 set of moulds used for making the "Clay Donuts" that form the foundation of our Smokeless Chulha design
  2. A template cutter for making the perfect cut everytime to get the optimum vortex for clean high temperature combustion inside the tube
  3. Comprehensive instructions in a range of languages with pictures to demonstrate how to use

The trick to making smokeless fire is in the design and the addition of a puffed grain to the clay, such as puffed rice. In simple terms we are teaching people to make insulated burn tubes that are highly efficient as they get hot enough to burn smoke, resulting in a clean burn and requiring far less fuel.

They are too simple and too effective to not be used. Not only are they relatively smokeless (about 90% less than usual), they are also highly efficient using 50% or less of the fuel required for a conventional cookstove.

The other advantage of people making their own stoves is they can be tailored to suit each family's particular situation and cultural context. One of the reasons many stove projects fail is that they try to implement a 'one size fits all' approach.

These stoves can be re-designed, re-shaped, adjusted, modified and adapted to suit countless situations. This is easily the simplest and most cost effective way to spread the smokeless cookstove concept to the largest amount of people.

What happens to the money?

Funds raised through selling the kits have a double benifit.

Firstly, we either send you the kit if you want it, or preferably, we send it to the field where it will get used in a needy situation.

Secondly, the surplus funds raised though the sale of kits is channelled 100% towards our training programs in the field. These programs are designed to teach villagers to make their own chulhas and to train up regional trainers who are then sent out to their respective regions to train more people in making these stoves.

The stoves themselves will cost nothing to make, but the kits make it easier for people to make lots of stoves.

Let us train the trainers and let them loose on the world. We aim to start a Smokeless Cookstove Revolution by giving everyone the skills to make their own.

The Smokeless Cookstove Foundation

Learn more about the amazing work being done by the Smokeless Cookstove Foundation (SCF), a registered not-for-profit in India that has achieved incredible results using these methods in the field.

The work has been independently verified and written up in a stunning report which is viewable here:

SCF Report Link

Learn more about the training programs being operated by SCF here:


Certificate of Appreciation sent to all donors

Send an email if you want us to put someone else's name on the page.

Thanks to Aangi Shah for the incredible images from a recent field trip by SCF.

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Team Members

Russell Collins

Ashley Crowther

Chetana Chetana

Nitisha Agrawal