IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The effect of solar ovens on fuel use, emissions and health: results from a randomised controlled trial

Listed author(s):
  • Theresa Beltramo
  • David I. Levine

Inefficient cookstoves contribute to deforestation and global climate change, require substantial time (usually of women and girls) collecting wood or money for fuel and lead to just under two million deaths a year. We examined the effect of solar ovens on fuel use, time spent collecting wood, carbon monoxide exposure, and respiratory illness symptoms. A phased randomised controlled trial was run among women interested in purchasing a solar oven in rural Senegal. Of the envisioned 1000 households, 465 treatments and 325 controls took part in the baseline survey. Households randomly allocated to the control group received their stoves 6 months after treatments. Eighty per cent of our respondents typically cook for more people than the capacity of the solar oven and thus even cooks using the solar oven continue using their traditional stove. In the sixth month of owning the stove, treatments used their solar oven 19 per cent of days measured and did not have statistically significantly lower fuel consumption, time spent collecting fuel or time spent next to the cook fire. However, treatments cooking for 7-12 persons did lower their wood consumption for cooking by 14 per cent ( P > .01). There is no evidence solar ovens reduced exposure to carbon monoxide or self-reported respiratory symptoms such as coughs and sore throats. This evaluation was a policy success because its results halted the proposed nationwide rollout of the solar oven, thus avoiding mass distribution of a stove which cannot reduce indoor air pollution or generate a sizeable decrease in fuel use. The results from this randomised controlled trial show that the HotPot is a poor product choice for the population as a one-pot stove cannot replace the three-stone fire for the lunch meal due to complex cooking patterns with multiple stoves, cooks and burners. A key result from our programme is stove designers - both solar and other improved biomass cookstoves - should reassess the product design to produce stoves that are affordable, durable, locally appropriate, consistent with current cooking practices (i.e., containing two burners) and large enough to accommodate multi-generational and/or polygamous households with limited incomes and no electricity.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Development Effectiveness.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 178-207

in new window

Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevef:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:178-207
DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2013.775177
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jdevef:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:178-207. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.