The New Lao Cook Stove Project
The NLS project was initiated through the Cambodian Fuelwood Saving Project (CFSP) in collaboration with with the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy. In Cambodia, wood provides for more than 80% of people's energy needs. Today, all of the fuelwood in Cambodia comes from unsustainable and illegal logging of local forests, which has become a major issue due to the rapid pace of population growth and development. Cooking with wood and charcoal has direct negative health impacts on users, most of which are women. Indoor air pollution, mostly from wood and charcoal smoke, is responsible for respiratory, heart and eye problems. In order to address the health, energy and environmental problems related to household cooking practices, GERES introduced an improved cookstove, the New Lao stove (NLS), which saves 22% of wood and charcoal compared to traditional stoves and has a cleaner combustion.
GERES has in their work to introduce a more efficient and cleaner cook stove in Cambodia taken a commercialized supply chain approach. GERES have worked with stove producers, distributors and end consumers to develop a highly demanded product as well as an optimal price structure in order for all involved parties to gain from the new improved cook stove. Today, 31 stove production centers nationwide provide local markets with 25.000 improved cookstoves per month. In 2009 it was estimated that 160.000 families was using the NLS . By being able to verify sales, actual use of the stove and amount of saved CO2 emissions per stove the project has obtained access to carbon finance. The project covers the following 8 provinces: Phnom Penh, Takeo, Kandal, Kampot, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Cham, Battambang, Siem Reap and Prey Veng. The majority of producers though can be found in Kampong Chhnang province.
- Reduce household fuel consumption and expenses
- Protect forest ecosystems and biodiversity
- Mitigate global warming by limiting greenhouse gas emissions
- Reduce health hazards related to indoor air quality
- Cookstove producers and distributors
- Families that use charcoal and wood for cooking
- Commercial food producers and restaurants
- Micro and small-scale food service entrepreneurs
- The NLS uses 22% less fuelwood and charcoal than a traditional cookstove.
- The number of families using the NLS is estimated at 160,000.
- This represents a theoretical saving of US$2,500,000 on charcoal purchase for these families since the start of the project.
- The 32,000 tonnes of charcoal saved represent 212,000 tonnes of green wood not cut, i.e. 620 ha of natural forest preserved.
- From 2003 to 2009, 769 000 tCO2eq of greenhouse gas emissions have been saved.
- The New Lao Stove (NLS) efficient stove technology was developed with inspiration from existing stove technology (Traditional Lao Stove) in close collaboration with artisan producers.
- Quality control, standardization system including a quality seal system and traceability procedures was put in place.
- A producer and distributor association was established to protect the standardized product.
- Centralized training centers ensured producers were equipped with the right skills to enter the producer association and be part of the quality seal system.
- A micro-credit fund was set up to help establish the production and distribution network.
- A fair price structure was developed. The selling price of the NLS was fixed in such a way that the outlay could be recouped due to the fuel savings within six months at the most
- The full stove price is paid by the user, no subsidies are being given.
- Has succeeded in up-scaling the project from pilot to large scale implementation.
- The first stove project to access carbon finance on the voluntary market.
The project was partly funded by the European Union until 2006. As the European Union withdrew its start-up support, the maintenance of the project activity was dependent on additional funding from selling Verified Emission Reductions (VERs). Carbon Finance is required for two reasons:
- To cofinance the remaining 20% of the launching period not covered by E.U.,
- To ensure the continuity of the project: to solidify the market position, maintain the quality assurance system and scale up dissemination up to market saturation (2007-2012).
GERES has built a financial institutional framework to better secure access to financing solutions for producers and distributors. GERES has set up a micro-credit fund where credit is charged at an interest rate of 12% per year. Commercial lenders charge at least 2.5% per month (equals 34,5 % per year if the loan is not paid back after 12 months). In 2009 GERES supported ICOPRODAC in setting up a saving and credit service. The savings group was established to build an independent financial institution with the objective of providing producers and distributors easier access to credit. In this way, individual members can contribute 20,000 Riel (approximately 5USD) per month to the savings system and receive 2% interest per annum on their investments after one year.
In order to improve the institutional environment and governmental support GERES has engaged in dialogue with policy makers and local authorities to put stove production on the political agenda and to increase awareness about the sector. Collaboration has been initiated at various levels.
On a ministry level collaboration with the authorities was started in 2002 when the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy (MIME) became the regulatory authority for the area of wood energy. This signified the government's commitment to the issue of wood energy.
Collaboration with Institute of Standards of Cambodia (ISC) has been initiated to create a national standard for the stove. GERES is collaborating with ISC in liaison with ICOPRODAC, to establish a national industrial standard for the stove that will be a formal national cooking stove standard complying with the specifications for the improved model.
On a local level GERES has engaged in dialogue with local authorities and provided training to extension workers.
In 2003 GERES provided support to NLS producers to set up a professional association (Improved Cookstove Producers and Distributors Association in Cambodia (ICOPRODAC)) with the aim of protecting and advancing their mutual interests related to NLS production. Before this time there was no collective organization representing stove producers and stove production was an entirely informal economic activity. The mandates of the association are to:
- Foster close co-operation between producers and distributors to expand the market;
- Control production and selling prices to avoid any unfair competition to the detriment of final product quality;Demand and enforce the agreed quality standard with producers;
- Bring in new producers who become eligible for the quality seal, ensuring long-term monitoring;
- Support members in building their management and organizational capacity and ability to work together.
One of the mandates of ICOPRODAC is to bring in new producers in an organised way. This is done by actively locating and including producers who are producing copies of the NLS model. "Copy-cats" will damage the sector as they often produce bad quality stoves sold at a low price in order for the producer to get into the market. This becomes a threat to producers of "authentic" fuel-efficient cooking as it is an unfair competition detrimental of final product quality.
New producers who want to produce the NLS are brought into a producer group and go through mandatory training sessions. This is to ensure that producers are equipped with the right skills
in order to be able to produce stoves of the required quality. Centralized training centers has been estalished for this purpose.
A promotional campaign was launched to increase knowledge about the stove with the customers. The promotional tools included video clips, posters, cartoons, demonstrations, etc. The campaign has created a visual identity for the cooking stove and helped reassuring pioneer producers about the seriousness of the program. Posters were set up at retailers selling the new model to make it easy for customers to locate NLS retailers. Demonstrations at marketplaces were made to demonstrate difference in cooking time and fuel consumption for the TLS and the NLS. Sponsorships of sporting and cultural events helped link the image of the new cooking stove to the notion of quality and environmental protection.
Development of the efficient cook stove technology was done in collaboration with existing traditional stove producers. This was done to ensure producer and customer acceptance. Once the stove standards had been determined, work with the pilot producer continued to:
- Guarantee constant quality in the templates and moulds used for the ceramics;
- Make sure of the quality of preparation of the materials and their provenance, as well as the lifetime of the final product;
- Reduce production costs by paying attention to tooling and work organization (task specialization, subcontracting certain parts if necessary, etc.);
- Ensure the aesthetic appeal and modern appearance of the cooking stove (colour, external covering, etc.)
While the stoves reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decrease deforestation, they also provide co-benefits to users and families in the form of relief from high fuel costs, reduced exposure to health-damaging airborne pollutants, faster cooking (resulting in time-savings), and increased cleanliness and convenience.
The price structure of the cooking stove allows for fair distribution of the proceeds between producers, middlemen and retailers, thereby validating the win-win concept of the supply chain approach. In Cambodia, the selling price of the NLS was fixed in such a way that the outlay could be recouped due to the fuel savings within six months at the most. This seems to be an ssential condition for viable marketing of the equipment. By working the cost structure back from the customer to the producer, the margin for middlemen and producers can be stablished. Each party earn more money by producing the NLS for the same amount of work that they spend on making the traditional stove. Having accurate knowledge of the traditional supply chain lays a sound foundation for negotiation. There is a great temptation, for example, to establish a high selling price to motivate producers, but that means running the risk of restricting the future potential for large-scale marketing.
GERES Cambodia has played the main role in driving the project and has dedicated a large and diverse project team in terms of skills and capacity.
Having a multidisciplinary team working in a broad range of fields including Studies, surveys and field tests;Laboratory testing and development of the range of cooking stoves, production of low-cost heat-resistant materials, stove production techniques;Support and organization;Quality control, monitoring and dissemination of the new model;Communication and promotion has been key to the success.
An important part of GERES' strategy has been to introduce standards for the NLS stove and certification and monitoring systems. Standardizing the product has been important first of all to ensure a reliable fuel saving for the consumer. Certifying the producer and making a quality seal system have been important to ensure quality consistency in the production and in order for the producer to easily communicate their status as qualified NLS producers to the consumer. Certified NLS producers can in this way use their status to brand the stove as a high quality stove. Monitoring has been important to ensure the consistency and in building and ensuring consumer trust. Lastly monitoring has been crucial in accessing carbon finance for the project.
In 2004 GERES began the process of accessing carbon finance for the stove project. In 2007 it was documented that the program is saving on non-renewable biomass and the first third party verification of emission reductions was done for the period of 2003-2006. This verification led to generation of the first credits to be sold under the Voluntary Carbon Standard. The income stream created by carbon finance has been used to catalyze the up-scaling phase. Income from carbon finance has been channeled back into the project allowing the project to expand into more remote and less population dense areas where the transaction costs of operation are higher.
Iwan BASKORO, Technical Manager
Tel: + 855 16 852 369
Name:The New Lao Cook Stove Project
GERES. Groupe Energies Renouvelables, Environnement et Solidarités. GERES was founded in 1976 by French engineers and academics. It is a not-for-profit organization with a remit to alleviate poverty using renewable energy. GERES started the Cambodian Fuelwood Saving Project (CFSP) in 1997 in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy which has developed a cheap charcoal stove, the "New Lao stove". GERES Cambodia Website (external link)
Iwan BASKORO, Technical Manager
Tel: + 855 16 852 369
Technology:Fuel efficient charcoal stove
- National Grid
Project status:Completed project