Partner Spotlight: Dometic Group and the CleanCook – Bringing a Safe Alcohol Stove to Market
Sweden-based Dometic has a legacy of service to humanity, built on technological innovation. Dometic’s roots go back to the invention of absorption refrigeration in 1922 by Carl Munters and Baltzar von Platen. Over nearly a century, Dometic has adapted this technology for service in developed and developing markets. In 2001, Dometic added another important appliance to its suite of technologies adapted for the developing world, the alcohol-fueled CleanCook stove. This stove is based on original technology, the “ORIGO” stove, invented in Sweden in the 1970s and acquired by Electrolux, now Dometic, in the 1980s.
The stove is important for several reasons. Unlike other alcohol stoves, it produces lots of energy and can cook any meal just like a gas stove. But it is not pressurized, and cannot spill or leak, making it a very safe stove. The Dometic stove combusts very efficiently and produces very low emissions. Used with a renewable fuel, it can provide carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative cooking.
Project Gaia (PGI) and Dometic began working together in 1998. Following a world-wide search for the best alcohol stove, PGI selected the ORIGO stove, approached Electrolux, and asked them to adapt it to the developing market. In 2001, many of its off-grid appliances were transitioned by Electrolux to Dometic, and Dometic continued work on the stove, further refining and adapting it to the developing world markets.
Dometic and PGI were thus already engaged with the problem of household air pollution when the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development brought attention to this problem. Dometic and PGI were early members of the US EPA Partnership for Clean Indoor Air. Having begun field research in Latin America in 1998, they expanded to South Africa and Nigeria in 2001. In 2003, the Shell Foundation selected them for pilot studies in Ethiopia and Brazil and in humanitarian settings in the Horn of Africa.
Dometic and PGI have worked steadily since then. The stove’s first fully commercial project was the Ndzilo Stove in Mozambique (CleanStar Mozambique), which grew out of a dialogue between PGI and Novozymes leading to a joint appearance at COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009. Now the stove is commercial in small numbers in Ethiopia and Nigeria, with a 10,000-stove roll-out planned for Nigeria in 2014. Projects are pending in many other countries, from Kenya and Tanzania to Madagascar, South Africa, countries in the ECOWAS region (West Africa), and Haiti. In total, over 40,000 Dometic CleanCook stoves are in operation globally.
The CleanCook has been much more than a stove project. In fact, in many ways, it is also a fuel project. Because very little ethanol was made in Africa in 2001 (except in South Africa), PGI had to encourage the development of ethanol as a fuel of choice for household and appliance-based uses. Methanol, the “other alcohol,” is also a fuel of interest for the CleanCook, and Dometic is ready to produce stoves for these fuels. The prototypes for some of these appliances are already available commercially in western markets.
The CleanCook Stove has received a number of distinctions and in 2008 it won an Ashden Award, and the EU Energy Globe Award for Ethiopia in 2008 and 2010. In 2010 and 2012, the World Bioenergy Association recognized the work of Dometic and PGI to advance the use of alcohol fuels globally for household energy. The Mozambique project has also been distinguished, as has Dometic, for its innovation and appliance designs.
As a multinational company, Dometic believes it has a responsibility to serve all. By partnering with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and PGI, Dometic seeks to affirm this commitment by facilitating the adoption of truly clean cooking technologies across the world.