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Award Abstract #1444894

I-Corps: Solutions for the Global Cooking Problem: Developing Stored Solar Stoves

Div Of Industrial Innovation & Partnersh
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Initial Amendment Date: June 6, 2014
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Latest Amendment Date: June 6, 2014
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Award Number: 1444894
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Rathindra DasGupta
IIP Div Of Industrial Innovation & Partnersh
ENG Directorate For Engineering
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Start Date: July 1, 2014
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End Date: December 31, 2015 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $50,000.00
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Investigator(s): J. Bruce Elliott-Litchfield b-litch@illinois.edu (Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
CHAMPAIGN, IL 61820-7473 (217)333-2187
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NSF Program(s): I-Corps
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Program Reference Code(s):
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Program Element Code(s): 8023


The World Health Organization asserts around 3 billion people still cook and heat their homes using solid fuels in open fires and leaky stoves. Such cooking and heating produces high levels of indoor air pollution with a range of health-damaging pollutants, including small soot particles that penetrate deep into the lungs. In poorly ventilated dwellings, indoor smoke can be 100 times higher than acceptable levels for small particles. Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth. Nearly 2 million people a year die prematurely from illness attributable to indoor air pollution due to solid fuel use. Fuel gathering consumes considerable time for women and children, limiting other productive activities and taking children away from school. In less secure environments, women and children are at risk of injury and violence during fuel gathering. Non-renewable harvesting of biomass contributes to deforestation and thus climate change. Methane and black carbon (sooty particles) emitted by inefficient stove combustion are powerful climate change pollutants. The proposed technology addresses this large market and a corresponding domestic market that seeks green cooking alternatives with a no-fuel and no-flame device that stores energy to cook when the user needs it.

In this proposal, the team proposes a strategy of concurrent (a) research, (b) development, and (c) field testing, with each of the three efforts informing the others. This three-pronged approach uses the lean start-up model which advocates interaction with end users and avoids prolonged R&D around solutions that may not be adopted in the field. The team intends to work with state and national parks to develop prototype grills/stoves for testing, and will also work with local parks, campgrounds, and university/campus facilities to gain input for development of prototypes. Preliminary feedback from park facility managers indicates a very high level of enthusiasm for a green, clean, fuel-free cooking alternative that reduces fire risk, and there are 215,000 state park campsites alone.


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