How can we improve stoves in Myanmar?
Myanmar launched an improved cookstove (ICS) programme a couple of decades ago. The technology developed at that time was based on the Thai bucket and was called A1.
The spread and adoption of this device was not as successful as expected and only a few households have been equipped with the A1. The A1 comprises up to 5% of the cookstove market (EMC, 2015).
Several factors explain its low level of dissemination; only a small number of producers are trained to construct this new technology and some of them gave up this design to produce a more popular product; there was no quality monitoring; producers lacked national support; and there was insufficient communications about their benefits. This contributed to a low adoption of A1. Of all households using cookstoves in Myanmar, 35% use the three stone fire and 27% use traditional charcoal stoves (EMC, 2015).
This experience shouldn’t be regarded as a failure as it led to the design of an improved technology.
How do we know that the technology is in fact improved and we haven’t just reinvented the wheel? Our team assessed the existing technology in the country and identified two popular types of stoves and started running multiple tests.
The data analysis showed that the A1 performed well. As we will see in the next article, the A1 designed by the Forest Research Institute (FRI) is the model that had the best results. It is the one that should be distributed in the country in order to have the greatest positive impacts on its users and the environment.
R&D will continue and the team will be able to improve some parts of the stove for better performance. The refractory liner (a clay ring inside the stove that fixes the grate), for example, is one of the most difficult parts to produce and to put in place. The team is working on a better mixture composition, to adjust the refractory liner thickness, which can be an issue during the vitrification process. The installation technique has to be rethought to ensure that the adhesivity will last between the liner and the stove body.
The A1 is not the only device to be targeted by R&D. The team will work on a second ICS design, the Pathein stove. It is a very small portion of the market, used far less than the three stone fire. Nevertheless, this device has great potential and the team seeks to improve its design for better performance and lifetime.
Drawing designs for stoves in Myanmar
The GERES Cambodia modelling specialist, Vong Nareth, created 3D and orthographic drawings (representing 3D objects with several two-dimensional views) of the A1. Trainings are planned for the Myanmar team to understand and use these documents, so they can monitor the production of high quality cookstoves.
Improving capacities for the stakeholders in the improved cookstoves sector will ensure that throughout the project their autonomy is protected and that the stove is of sustainable quality.