In Benin, a pan-African rice research group are using an alternative form of energy to burn rice husks.
The stove has been developed by Africa Rice Centre for women in Benin. The environmentally friendly method will aid reduce the demand for wood in the country where rice is a staple food.
The stove fitted with a solar panel, powers a fan and a source of light. It directly burns husks to produce thermal energy for cooking and heating water.
These stoves are adapted to African conditions because they use different types of agricultural waste.
“These stoves are adapted to African conditions because they use different types of agricultural waste. It can be of cashew shells, it can be groundnut shells, it can be rice hulls, it can be waste coming from the field, we can only cut into small pieces and put in the home and it can produce heat and clean energy,” says Sali Atanga Ndindeng a Researcher at Africa Rice.
Many of the users of the prototype stove have already expressed their excitement acknowledging the prospect of cooking without filling their homes and lungs with smoke.
One user Monique explains how, “Before, I used a home-based charcoal. And I found out it would take time. When you put coal and put oil on it, it takes time to make. But this, with rice hulls, it’s convenient, it’s faster. It’s like the gas we use at home.”
This alternative form of energy is expected to curb the country’s deforestation rate of 2.5 percent, one of the highest in the world. The stove will also help local rice-growers, who produce large amounts of rice husks that are difficult to dispose of.