Cleaner cooking while producing biochar: factors affecting adoption of gasifier cookstoves in rural areas

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


A majority of households in developing countries use biomass energy for cooking and heating due to its affordability and accessibility. However, unsustainable biomass use leads to deforestation, environmental degradation and climate change. The pollution from open burning of biomass is a major health concern especially for women and children as they spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Biochar-producing gasifier cookstoves offer an opportunity to address many of these problems, while also producing biochar, which can be used as a soil amendment. A study was carried out in order to investigate factors influencing the adoption of these cookstoves in three sites in Kenya (Kwale, Embu and Siaya). After an introductory training, 150 households received cookstoves and were asked to use them to produce biochar for upcoming field experiments. User experiences were collected through
surveys after 2-3 months and about 2 years, and at workshops. The main benefits of the cookstove identified by the users were fuel saving with significant impacts on household economies, reduced smoke and production of biochar for either cooking or soil amendment. Challenges were related to lighting, a need to refill the fuel canister, fuel preparation and different suitability for different types
of meals and meal sizes. The gasifier use frequency and biochar production rates differed between the sites, which had different climate, socio-economic conditions and fuel accessibility. The results will be of relevance for inclusion of user participation in cookstove designing and performance assessment as well as for stakeholders involved in marketing. They can also give guidance on the
relevance of gasifier cookstoves for production of biochar for use on farms.


  • James K Gitau
  • Mary Njenga
  • Ruth Mendum
  • Jane Mutune
  • Yahia Mahmoud
  • Cecilia Sundberg
External organisations
  • University of Nairobi
  • World Agroforestry Centre
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sep 25
Publication categoryResearch
EventAgricultural Research for Development Conference 2019: Zero hunger by 2030, our shared challenge! - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: 2019 Sep 252019 Sep 26


ConferenceAgricultural Research for Development Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleAGRI4D 2019
Internet address