Over four million deaths every year are attributed to indoor and outdoor pollution from cooking fires and inefficient stoves. Prakti is a research and design organization working to produce cleaner stoves that can operate on local fuels without the associated pollution.
Their stoves are low maintenance, versatile, and reduce air pollution up to 90% compared to traditional methods. Added benefits include the empowerment of women, who often take the brunt of indoor pollution, and a reduction in environmental impact.
Though they have only sold about 8000 stoves (tapping an estimated 1% of the total market), refined designs and new partnerships are building hope for expansion in the coming year.
Prakti admits there are challenges to the project. First, the cost of each stove is currently around 1000 rupees, which is ten times that of a traditional clay chulha. Although reduced fuel costs will eventually lead to savings, the initial investment is prohibitive to many. Second, a multitude of stove designs are required to fit the cooking styles and traditions of a diverse range of groups. This makes standardization difficult and reduces the ability to drop costs through mass production. Prakti is hopeful that both hurdles can be overcome through more research and investment, and are actively seeking partnerships to address these issues.
Here is an excellent article from the Guardian that outlines the project.