A shocking number of people die every year from indoor air pollution - mostly due to the burning of biomass fuels indoors for cooking. Of the estimated 1.6 million who die from smoke inhalation, approximately 500,000 of those people are women in rural India. To address this issue, a group of NGOs partnered with Phillip's Philanthropy By Design and local Indian women to develop a much more efficient smoke-free stove called the Chulha. Made from local materials, the Chulha stove is easy to clean and maintain and it filters and directs smoke outside to improve indoor air quality.
The Chulha is a low-tech stove for healthy indoor cooking designed through Phillip’s Philanthropy By Design program. The stove has undergone many iterations since the project began and the project has involved local NGOs in India as well as stakeholders who tested the stove and gave feedback. The stove’s design is completely open-source and available for distribution as a way to encourage local economic activity and spread the project as far as possible.
The goals of the project are to reduce indoor pollution and related health ailments, to respect local culinary habits and cooking behaviors, and to create an easily sourced and maintained stove with a low-cost that encourages distribution and scalability. After research, stakeholder meetings, and many design iterations, it also became necessary that the stove work off a number of different types of biomass and be able to cook in different ways (frying, steaming, boiling, etc) using various vessels.
The result was a low-to-the-ground stove with a small place for building a fire fueled in part by a bypass duct to increase efficiency and decrease boiling times. Two different cooking elements can accommodate different types of cooking needs, and all of the smoke is sucked through a very basic filter that directs it outside. A soot collector reduces the amount of soot that reaches the chimney, reducing the need to clean the chimney, which can sometimes be dangerous and unhealthy. The stoves are made from of self-locking and modular concrete units, designed so they can be put together at home and then covered in clay. The stove has already received an INDEX:Award for its humanitarian design, and it was honored with a nomination for the ‘World Design Impact Prize 2011‘ by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID).