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home : education : schools May 26, 2018


4/17/2018 6:39:00 PM
Stove engineering improves health
Pupusas cooked on an Ecocina stove in El Salvador are shared with a StoveTeam volunteer.  photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Pupusas cooked on an Ecocina stove in El Salvador are shared with a StoveTeam volunteer. photo provided


More than half the world's population - three billion people - cook their meals over open fires on makeshift stoves that smolder all day. The result? Debilitating lung diseases, disfiguring and disabling burns, time and energy lost to the constant demands of wood-gathering, and a billion tons of greenhouse gases released into the Earth's atmosphere every year.

StoveTeam International is tackling this complicated issue with a straightforward strategy: Replace open fires with efficient, safe, and affordable cooking stoves.

On Tuesday, April 24, Nancy Hughes will describe how engineering, technology, innovation, and compassion have combined to build and deliver nearly 70,000 stoves in Mexico and Central America, improving the lives of more than half a million people.

Hughes, who founded StoveTeam International just a decade ago, will speak at The Belfry as part of the Frontiers in Science lecture series sponsored by the Sisters Science Club. The lecture begins at 7 p.m.

The StoveTeam endeavor began in 2007 when Hughes and a team of volunteers from the Eugene Southtowne Rotary Club wrote a Rotary matching grant and invented a small portable stove they dubbed the Ecocina. The little stove produced almost no smoke and used less than half the wood of an open fire. Declared one of the most efficient "rocket stoves" in the world, the Ecocina reduced carbon emissions from a cooking fire by 68% and particulate matter by more than 86%.

Demand for the stove was immediate and immense. In 2008, StoveTeam International began helping local entrepreneurs establish sustainable factories to produce Ecocina stoves. The factories, funded initially by Rotary matching grants, use all local materials and employ only local men and women, an important economic contribution in developing countries where unemployment sometimes exceeds 50 percent.

StoveTeam International has received ongoing and generous support from Rotary clubs in the United States, Mexico and Central America; Hughes was the recipient of Rotary International's Champion of Change award in 2013. In addition to her evening lecture at The Belfry on April 24, she will be the luncheon speaker for the Rotary Club of Sisters meeting at Brand 33 Restaurant at noon.

Hughes travels regularly to Mexico and Central America with groups of volunteers, visiting one of the five stove factories in various locations. Volunteers build and test stoves, work on construction projects, and visit local cultural sites. More information on the program will be available at the evening lecture.

Social hour begins at 6 p.m. with light fare, beer, and wine available. The lecture begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $5; Science Club annual donors, teachers and students are admitted free. The Belfry is located at 302 E. Main Ave.









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