On September 28th 2017, GIZ/Energising Development (EnDev) together with the Government Technical Institute (GTI), Department for Alternative Energy Studies and the Wonder Stove producer Westwind Energy, conducted a workshop on testing improved cook stoves.
Participants of the workshop were representatives and students from GTI, enrolled in Renewable Energy studies, students from Y.W.C.A. enrolled in the Food and Beverage course, representatives of the Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA),
local stove producers, representative of the Barefoot Women, staff from Easy Solar, Henry P. Serry, Renewable Energy, Science & Technical Advisor to the President and the team from GIZ/EnDev. The organizers expressed their satisfaction with the high number of female participants since women and children are the main beneficiaries of improved cooking technologies.
The objective of the workshop was to transmit basic knowledge about improved cook stoves and testing for different stakeholders of the sector. The UNDP project “Energy Efficient Production and Utilisation of Charcoal through Innovative Technologies” plans to disseminate improved cook stoves in Sierra Leone on a grand scale. Future testing and agreements on quality criteria will play an important role. In addition, stove producers can use their new knowledge on testing to improve their own products. Moreover, the participants used the event to connect and network.
The one-day training was divided into a theoretical input in the morning and a practical session in the afternoon. Ylva Kuerten from GIZ/EnDev held a presentation on how cook stoves can improve and named various criteria such as fuel efficiency, user convenience and reduction of pollution. Different types of tests and testing protocols (Water Boiling Test, Controlled Cooking Test and Kitchen Performance Test) were presented.
In the afternoon the group formed eight teams to test one stove each. The performance of an improved firewood stove was compared to a 3-stone fire and five new charcoal stoves were compared to a traditional coal pot. The tests conducted during the workshop were Controlled Cooking Tests (CCT) with the defined task to boil 5 kg of water and to keep it at a simmer for 45 min. This testing methodology is also known as Regional Water Boiling Test (RWBT). The test is an empirical on-site test focusing on fuel use efficiency which takes different climate conditions or different types of charcoal into account.
In a closing session the preliminary results were discussed. Even though only the improved firewood stove and two of the charcoal stoves fulfilled the EnDev criteria for improved cook stoves (40 % reduction of specific consumption), all other stoves achieved a significant reduction and have room for improvement. A further development of the stoves to achieve a greater reduction of the specific consumption and to reduce the time to boil, should be considered together with the producers.