An Eco-Friendly Solution for a "Cleaner, Safer" Kitchen

Cummins provided energy efficient cooking stoves to residents of Nandal village


Wood has been the main source of fuel for cooking in Nandal, a village in close proximity to the Cummins Megasite at Phaltan, Maharashtra. Nandal was identified as a pilot for this project. Post a survey conducted, it was learnt that the residents of this village, primarily from the Dhangar community, a nomadic community whose main livelihood was cattle rearing, depended on wood collection from the surrounding forest area to be used as fuel for cooking.

Their earning per day was minimal, their literacy was low and they travelled to distant places in search of appropriate livelihood. With less than 10% forest cover, the dependency of the villagers on wood adversely affected the bio-diversity of the surroundings. The requirement of wood, generally collected by women in the village, is approximately 1kg of wood per household per day. Each household has two cooking stoves- one for cooking and the other one for heating water. The annual consumption of wood per family per year was in the range of 1440-2190 Kgs of wood. The conventional stoves used by the households were increasing air pollution, which was also adversely affecting the villagers' health. This project thus focused on providing energy efficient stoves to the villagers, thereby reducing their wood consumption and air pollution.

Approach and Effort

The key issue which caught Cummins' attention was the excessive wood consumption in Nandal, which was affecting bio-diversity and productivity and therefore proving to be an excessive health hazard. The project was undertaken in association with ARTI (Appropriate Rural Technology Institute), established in the year 1996 with a mission to serve as an instrument of sustainable rural development through the application of scientific and technological knowledge.

The concept of an 'Energy saving Cooking Gas' is extremely beneficial for the villagers and is the most efficient method of tackling the problems recognized. This single pot fixed stove is made of insulating cement bricks joined together with metal wires. The modular design allows its assembly and installation on location, either in mud or on a cement platform. The metallic grate at the bottom of the firebox creates a tunnel that ensures adequate air supply to the fuel and better combustion. The life of such a stove is 5-6 years. The efficiency of the stove was measured on the consumption of wood, carbon monoxide emissions and the time taken for cooking.

Resulting Change

The project focused on preserving trees by reducing their use in cooking. The team of employees evaluated different technologies and zeroed in on 'Energy efficient chulhas' (stoves). An extensive site testing was done in actual working conditions by Cummins engineers. Results were analyzed using six sigma methodologies.

The benefits of these chulhas/stoves were:

  • 30% reduction in Wood Consumption,
  • 80% reduction in Carbon Monoxide emission,
  • 30% reduction in cooking time.
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