Biochar cook-stoves save lives and trees

by SeaChar (Challenge)


Close to half of the world's population cooks on an open fire. The respiratory disease caused by the smoke from these fires is one of the leading causes of death in the developing world. The black carbon produced is a major contributor to climate change. SeaChar.Org has developed a stove that burns 90% cleaner and uses 50% less fuel than a traditional stove. Built locally from local materials, these stoves can also produce biochar, a valuable carbon-rich soil amendment as a by-product.
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Among indigenous populations, respiratory disease is the leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years of age. Pneumonia, Bronchitis, COPD and asthma are endemic. These diseases are directly linked to poor indoor air quality from smokey fires. These communities are the back-bone of Costa Rica's cash crop economy. However in this emerging economy these people are the left behind. Introduction of new ideas is a difficult process. There is hope.


SeaChar.Org is working with a strong network of local partners to introduce a solution to the emissions exposure problem , which effects women and children most severely. Our Estufa Finca clean cook-stove builds incorporates an effective incentive and follow-up strategy to improve the adoption of this new idea. When you cook a meal on your new stove, you not only save fuel and reduce cooking time, you can make money for your family. You can sell the biochar by-product that these stoves produce.

Long-Term Impact

The primary long-term impact is the the gift of breath to the families in this vulnerable population. Children do not need to die from having dinner cooked for them. The Estufa Finca stoves are built locally from local materials. This creates jobs.The biochar produced by these stoves will help to improve the soils and productivity on these farms. These stoves introduce a technology that can be scaled up to replace inefficient drying furnaces used to process commodities such as cacao.


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Organization Information

SeaChar (Challenge)

Location: Seattle, WA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
SeaChar (Challenge)
Project Leader:
Art Donnelly
Seattle, WA United States

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