Thermo-electric generation (TEG) enabled cookstoves in a rural Indian community: a longitudinal study of user behaviours and perceptions

Abstract

Background. Traditional cookstoves that burn solid biomass are associated with inefficient burning, a high degree of household air pollution and high morbidity rates. A key barrier to the adoption of clean cookstoves has been the cost of fuels. Hence, a Thermo-Electric Generating (TEG) cookstove that used solid biomass fuels more efficiently and released less smoke was developed. The TEG cookstove also generates electricity to power small electric devices. Fifteen TEG cookstoves were distributed to villagers in the Indian state of Uttarakhand in 2019. Objective. We wanted to understand whether, after two years of distribution, TEG cookstoves were still used, what and where they were used for, their perceived impacts on health, and the barriers to their use. Methods used. We surveyed 10 of the 15 recipient households. We applied the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation-Behaviour and Behaviour Change Wheel frameworks to understand what the barriers to adoption were, and what could be done to surmount these. Results. All respondents reported lower smoke levels and most respondents reported that the TEG cookstoves required less fuelwood than their traditional cookstoves, but none had used them in the month prior to the survey. Discussion. For those whose TEG cookstoves were still usable and had not been made redundant by clean cookstoves, we found there to be physical opportunity barriers and psychological capability barriers. Physical opportunity barriers included a small inlet for fuel, limited versatility beyond cooking at low temperatures, and the availability of only one hob. To surmount these barriers, we recommend co-design to suit user needs and education emphasising visible benefits of avoided soot on kitchen walls, in addition to the health benefits.

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Imaduddin Ahmed1,2, Imlisongla Aier3, Niamh Murtagh4, Priyanka Kaushal5, Monica Lakhanpaul6, Virendra Kumar Vijay7 and Priti Parikh9,8

Published 29 August 2022 • © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd
Environmental Research CommunicationsVolume 4Number 8Focus on Environmental Justice: Water and Energy Poverty in the Global SouthCitation Imaduddin Ahmed et al 2022 Environ. Res. Commun. 4 085003

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