Wisdom Stoves

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Overview

Wisdom Stoves is a Vermont-based nonprofit that distributes wood gasification cookstoves in Kenya.

Wisdom Stoves logo

Overview

Headquarters Groton, Vermont, USA
Established 2009
Impact Areas Kenya
Type Non-Profit
Energy Sectors
Business Model Types
Staff Size 7
Annual Budget $200,000
Major Funders Private donations, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Awards 2013: Best Innovation, Eastern Region Agricultural Society of Kenya
2014Best Energy Service and Conservation Solution at the Nakuru National Show

 

ABOUT

Wisdom Stoves is a non-profit based in Vermont that distributes wood gasification stoves in Kenya. They seek to displace the usage of charcoal as a fuel in Kenya, a fuel that contributes to deforestation and is often produced from illegally harvested wood. Their stoves, the Malaika jiko and M2, are capable of burning many types of fuel in addition to wood.

 

 

Energy Products/Services

  • Wisdom Stoves sells two different cookstoves models, the Malaika Joko and the M2.
  • The stoves are top lit updraft (TLUD) gasification stoves that can burn fuels such as wood, corn husks, cow dung, coffee husks, dried biomass briquettes, and many other fuels.
  • The Malaika Jiko stove is designed to be placed on top of a standard 10” improved Kenyan jiko cookstove (with a ceramic insert). The M2 is a standalone stove that is operated without any attachments.
  • Because the stoves utilize gasification technology, they do not produce significant amounts of smoke.
  • The stoves are also capable of producing charcoal for later use during cooking or as biochar fertilizer.

Target Market

  • Wisdom Stoves targets Kenyans, primarily Kenyans in rural farming communities and peri-urban areas, who use three-stone fires and traditional jiko cookstoves for cooking.
  • These Kenyans are heavily reliant on charcoal for their cooking and heating needs, which contributes to deforestation and household air pollution.

 

Wisdom Stoves

Revenue Streams

  • Private donations from individuals.
  • Grants and donations.
  • Sales.

Value Proposition

  • Wisdom Stoves is a non-profit committed to providing the people of Kenya with improved indoor air quality, financial stability, and an improved quality of life through the distribution of wood gasification cookstoves.

Problem Addressed

  • Wisdom Stoves seeks to address the negative and economic health effects as well as the rampant deforestation problem caused by charcoal production and use in Kenya.
  • Between 1990 and 2010, Kenya lost 6.5% of its forest cover. Some of the deforestation associated with charcoal production occurs illegally on protected lands.
  • 82% of Kenyans use wood or charcoal for cooking, yet only 0.04% have access to efficient cookstoves. The remaining Kenyans rely on inefficient cookstoves or three stone fires.
  • 21 million Kenyans are affected by household air pollution caused by the inefficient burning of biomass and charcoal. Worldwide, smoke from cookstoves kills one person every 16 seconds.
  • Wood gasification has been identified by major research institutions as a leading solution to indoor air pollution. However, the available options are too expensive and difficult to adopt for most Kenyans. Most of these models can also only burn pellets which are not available in the Kenyan market.
  • Most wood gasification stoves also require power to operate which is not available in most rural and peri-urban households.
  • The malaika jiko does not require power to operate, is able to use many different types of fuel, and is the most affordable wood gasification stove on the Kenyan market.
  • Using the malaika jiko helps eliminate household air pollution, and allows for the utilization of normally useless household and agricultural waste while allowing families to save money on charcoal and fertilizer at the same time.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • 1,500+ stoves sold.
  • 9,000+ beneficiaries served.
  • 20,500+ trees saved.
  • $180,000+ saved on fuel as a result of improved stove use.

Milestones

  • 2009: Cookstove design and pilot programs.
  • 2012: Launch of the Malaika Jiko cookstove.
  • 2012: Almost 400 cookstoves sold in Kenya.
  • 2012: Established a new stove manufacturing facility with a capability of producing 250 stoves per month.
  • 2013: Launch of the M2 cookstove.
  • 2013: Launched training programs to educate the public on the benefits of wood gasification and the importance of environmental conservation.

Growth Plan

  • 2015: Distribute additional 1,500 stoves to impact 9,000 beneficiaries, save $62,250, and 9,000 trees.
  • 2015: Develop a marketing strategy to be implemented in 7 counties in Kenya.
  • 2015: Pursue partnerships with microfinance institutions and Saving and Credit Co-Operatives for improved distribution.
  • 2015: Put up a pellet manufacturing plant to produce 2 tonnes a day.

How They Deliver

Product Sourcing

  • Manufacture, sales, and distribution is all done in Kenya.
  • Ongoing research into new cookstove models is done at their headquarters in Groton, Vermont.

Distribution

  • Distribution is done through partners such as microfinance institutions, SACCOs, and individual dealerships.

Affordability

  • It takes approximately two months for a family to save up enough to purchase a stove.
  • The stove pays for itself since it produces charcoal, which would normally cost about $14 USD per month.
  • The biochar produced by the stove can also be used as an organic fertilizer, increasing crop yields and thus allowing families to further increase their income while cutting fuel costs by about 50%.

Financing

  • Grants and donations.
  • Private donations.
  • Subsidization by the sale of stoves.

Scaling

  • Wisdom Stoves seeks to expand operations to other regions in Kenya.
  • They also seek to expand their impact and improve distribution by partnering with microfinance institutions.

SOCIAL IMPACT

  • Wisdom Stoves’ business model is designed to impact as many peoples’ lives as possible.

 

 

Product

Description: The malaika jiko is designed to be used with a traditional Kenyan jiko cookstove. The stove serves as an attachment that converts a traditional stove into a gasification stove. The M2 stove is a standalone stove that is not used with a traditional jiko stove.

How it is used: The malaika jiko is placed on top of and secured to a jiko cookstove. Rather than loading the biomass into the jiko, the biomass is loaded into the malaika jiko. The stove is lit from the top to create a hotbed of char, which heats and gasifies the wood below. The stove does not smoke because the gasified wood is burnt rather than the wood itself. The stove also produces charcoal as a by-product. The M2 is used in the same manner, except it is used without a jiko attached to the bottom. The stove generates its own draft, so power is not required to run the fan. In addition to burning pellets, this stove is customized to use any type of biomass that the beneficiaries are accustomed to. There is a wide range of biomass that can be used as feedstock. 1 kg of biomass burns for 2 hours, leaving behind about 20% char.

Cost Data:

  • Malaika jiko – Ksh 2500 ($28 USD)
  • M2 – Ksh 3500 ($39 USD)

Malaika jiko

Malaika jiko

The malaika jiko cookstove serves as an attachment to an improved Kenyan jiko cookstove.

M2

M2 stove

The M2 is a standalone biomass gasification cookstove.

Online Resources

Contact Information

Vermont Office:

2126 Scott Hwy

Groton, VT 05046

1-802-584-4446

nathan@wisdomstoves.org

 

 

 

Kenya Office:
PO Box 271
North Kinangop 20318 Kenya
0723 241907
dan@wisdomstoves.org