"During our time in India we found that the overwhelming majority of Indian people in rural areas uses natural gas stoves in unventilated rooms for cooking. This is both harmful to the environment and people's health. Let me introduce you to reStove, a project which tackles exactly this."
Restove enables Indians, through simple and cost effective biogas plants, to use their gas-powered stoves sustainably. Cow dung collected from agriculture work and other biological waste is taken as input, an intermediate bulk container (IBC) functions as the digester. This produces both biogas which is stored for later use, and fertilizer.
77% of rural Indian households use firewood as primary source of energy for cooking. Almost a third of the global population (around 2.4 billion people) does not have access to clean energy cooking services. Millions of households mostly in developing countries are forced to cook using open fire or inefficient stoves fuelled by combustion of solid fuels such as firewood, coal or crop waste, which causes a strong household air pollution. This type of pollution is, according to WHO, responsible for more than 3 million premature deaths annually worldwide, not to mention the negative health effects caused by the exposure to toxic byproducts of open fire cooking. The dust and gasses contained in the air inside households with poor ventilation can cause irritation of senses, lung diseases such as asthma or lung cancer, stroke and other life threatening diseases. We spend around 80%-90% of time indoors and concentration of harmful pollutants can be, due to lower air exchange rate, up to five times higher than outdoors. At some places, the indoor air quality is ten times worse than the limit set by WHO-guidelines.
India is home to 21 out of 30 of the world's most polluted cities and despite the rising usage of LPG stoves (Liquified Propane Gas), which are currently considered as the most accessible clean form of cooking fuel, around 40% of households in rural areas still use solid fuels. The main reasons are the high costs caused by the poorly developed distribution infrastructure in the rural areas but also by the lack of awarness concerning the context of the problem. Both WHO and local policies are trying to reduce usage of solid fuels as a primary cooking fuel. It is essential to expand use of efficient clean cooking technologies to reduce indoor air pollution and prevent diseases. These include electricity, LPG, solar, biogas and biomass stoves. Reaching large groups of customers with improved cooking solutions contributes to solving the clean cooking challenges that we face, which is, afterall, summarized under the Goal 7 in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Since our trip to India, we re-engineered our biogas plant prototype from the ground up. We work together as closely as possible with our local industry partners.
In the beginning of 2023, three of our team members went to India to finally meet our local community partners and prepare the start of the local business.
We built a prototype in India! Together with our community partners, we realized our first prototype and learned a lot during the process.