Emission Performance and User Acceptance of a Catalytic Biomass Cookstove in Rural Guatemala

A catalytic rocket stove was developed to reduce emissions and improve efficiency compared to open cooking fires or traditional semienclosed cookstoves, called poyos, typical of rural Guatemala. Traditional stoves often emit particulate matter and carbon monoxide at sufficient levels to cause respiratory illnesses and other health problems. Using focus group results, the stove was tailored to the needs of Guatemalan cooks. Field trial participants were provided with stove training to ensure that stoves were operated correctly. Somewhat surprisingly, the field trial demonstrated a high level of user acceptance in rural Guatemala, where users cooked 93% of the time with the catalytic stove despite having to change some cooking practices. In the field trial, the stove reduced emissions by as much as 68% and improved fuel efficiency by as much as 61% during real-world cooking events relative to the traditional poyo. An additional qualitative portion of the field study identified strengths and weaknesses of the stove that are being addressed as part of an iterative design process.