Indoor particulate matter concentration, water boiling time, and fuel use of selected alternative cookstoves in a home-like setting in rural Nepal

Kristen D. Ojo, Sutyajeet I. Soneja, Carolyn G. Scrafford, Subarna K. Khatry, Steven C. LeClerq, William Checkley, Joanne Katz, Patrick N. Breysse, James M. Tielsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Alternative cookstoves are designed to improve biomass fuel combustion efficiency to reduce the amount of fuel used and lower emission of air pollutants. The Nepal Cookstove Trial (NCT) studies effects of alternative cookstoves on family health. Our study measured indoor particulate matter concentration (PM2.5), boiling time, and fuel use of cookstoves during a water-boiling test in a house-like setting in rural Nepal. Study I was designed to select a stove to be used in the NCT; Study II evaluated stoves used in the NCT. In Study I, mean indoor PM2.5 using wood fuel was 4584 μg/m3, 1657 μg/m3, and 2414 μg/m3 for the traditional, alternative mud brick stove (AMBS-I) and Envirofit G-series, respectively. The AMBS-I reduced PM2.5 concentration but increased boiling time compared to the traditional stove (p-values < 0.001). Unlike AMBS-I, Envirofit G-series did not significantly increase overall fuel consumption. In Phase II, the manufacturer altered Envirofit stove (MAES) and Nepal Nutrition Intervention Project Sarlahi (NNIPS) altered Envirofit stove (NAES), produced lower mean PM2.5, 1573 μg/m3 and 1341 μg/m3, respectively, relative to AMBS-II 3488 μg/m3 for wood tests. The liquid propane gas stove had the lowest mean PM2.5 concentrations, with measurements indistinguishable from background levels. Results from Study I and II showed significant reduction in PM2.5 for all alternative stoves in a controlled setting. In study I, the AMBS-I stove required more fuel than the traditional stove. In contrast, in study II, the MAES and NAES stoves required statistically less fuel than the AMBS-II. Reductions and increases in fuel use should be interpreted with caution because the composition of fuels was not standardized—an issue which may have implications for generalizability of other findings as well. Boiling times for alternative stoves in Study I were significantly longer than the traditional stove—a trade-off that may have implications for acceptability of the stoves among end users. These extended cooking times may increase cumulative exposure during cooking events where emission rates are lower; these differences must be carefully considered in the evaluation of alternative stove designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7558-7581
Number of pages24
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 7 2015


  • Airborne particulate concentration
  • Alternative cookstove performance
  • Biomass fuel use
  • Indoor air pollution
  • PM
  • Water boiling test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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