Partner Spotlight: Prime Cookstoves
Prime Cookstoves was established in 2013 as a partnership between Norway-based SME Differ and Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nurhuda, the inventor of the Prime Square Biomass Cookstove (the UB-03 stove). Differ invested in Prime because its natural draft TLUD gasifier stove was an effective, but inexpensive product that could be sold commercially without the need for subsidies.
Since 2013, the Prime and Differ partnership has sold 15,000 cookstoves on commercial terms to distributors and interested parties around the world, improving the health of more than 75,000 people and reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 45,000 tons. Today, Prime’s cookstoves are available in more than 20 different countries, with major distributors in Indonesia, Cambodia, Zambia, and South Africa. In just two cycles of Biennial Clean Cooking Forums, Differ rapidly evolved from a firm that was searching for investible clean cooking products in 2013, to developing their own cookstoves brand and selling thousands of units in just a few years.
While the technology of the Prime cookstove has remained the same, the design of the cookstove has changed substantially. The quality and lifetime of the stove has been improved by adding fireproof powder coating and higher quality materials. The stove’s rough edges have also been smoothed out, and new, fresh colors were recently introduced. These changes were implemented to improve the aspirational aspects of the stove, which are just as important to market as its performance qualities, which include more than 50% fuel savings and more than 90% reduction in particulate matter (PM).
Prime has learned from its distributors that the most important selling points for a stove are price and convenience. Users will not likely adopt a new stove if it requires more chopping, tending, or maintenance, even if the stove supports a cleaner kitchen or saves time on firewood collection. These types of emerging challenges have convinced Prime that increasing production, availability, and distribution of processed biomass fuels, such as pellets or briquettes, will be the future.
Prime can capitalize on the high availability of agricultural waste in its target markets. Instead of viewing agricultural waste as a problem and burning them in the field, which wastes valuable energy, several of Prime’s distributors have started to manufacture pellets or briquettes from this waste to sell it in conjunction with the Prime Square Granular Biomass Stove. Each distributors’ sales model varies, but they have all learned that convenience matters significantly.
We are pleased that Prime has been approved for results-based financing (RBF) under the Clean Stove Initiative Indonesia implemented by the World Bank, as well for the Stove Auction Cambodia operated by SNV and financed by Endev. These types of financial mechanisms critically help Prime’s cash-constrained distributors reach and benefit more consumers, while keeping prices at a minimum through scaled up production and logistics.
As one of its more than 1,500 partners, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has helped Prime connect with distributors from around the world, helping to increase our impact and scale and providing us an opportunity to impact the future of the clean cooking sector.