Factors influencing the adoption of biochar-producing gasifier cookstoves by households in rural Kenya

K. J. Gitau, J. Mutune, C. Sundberg, R. Mendum, M. Njenga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Fuel wood is the main source of cooking and heating energy in developing countries. However, it is combusted in inefficient cookstoves, leading to more fuel use and human health problems resulting from exposure to smoke. Thus new, efficient cooking systems that can address some of these problems are required. This study examined gasifier cookstove use in Kwale County, Kenya, and factors influencing adoption. Gasifier stoves were issued for free to 50 households, which were surveyed after 2–3 months of use. The results showed that the stove was used by 96% of the households at varying frequencies, 40% of them used it almost every day with 4% switching to only using the new stove. All the users appreciated it because it saved fuel, produced less smoke, and produced charcoal to use for either cooking or soil amendment. Compared with the traditional three-stone open fire, the gasifier stove was reported to be easier to clean (98% of respondents), easier to adjust the heat (88%), easier to handle (58%), caused less exposure to heat (96%) and was cleaner for pots and the kitchen (98%). Another reported benefit of the gasifier stove was that it needed no tending ( i. e., adjusting wood and blowing to keep the flames burning). The gasifier stove was mainly used to cook foods that required a short cooking time and many preferred to use it to cook dinner. However, the households encountered some challenges with using the gasifier stoves. For example, fuel preparation, reloading, and lighting were reported as challenges by 42%, 77% and 19%, respectively, of the 83% of households who reported challenges. These challenges could be overcome by improving stove design and by devising innovative ways of cutting fuel into small pieces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy for Sustainable Development
StatePublished - Oct 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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