Neeri’s stove reduces smoke, promises better rural health


NAGPUR: With World Health Organisation (WHO) identifying indoor pollution as being significantly responsible for the declining rural health and high mortality rate in India, National Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) has developed ‘Neerdhur’, a novel multi-fuel domestic cooking stove.
“The unique thing of the stove is that apart from wood, other fuel like coal, cow dung, and agricultural residue can also be used in it. It also saves 50% fuel and has high thermal efficiency,” said Nitin Labhsetwar, the senior principal scientist (Environmental Materials Division), who started developing the project around three-four years back. He added that the Neerdhur reduces cooking times and is super-efficient.

Explaining how the stove came about, he added, “Between 2008 and 2012, Neeri surveyed some 100 rural households and found that there were high emissions from traditional stoves. People had poor awareness about their health, and so Neeri felt that there was a need for a stove that can use any biomass.”

Explaining how it is different from the traditional brick-based stoves, scientist Ankit Gupta, who was a part of this project, said, “As the existing stoves being used by rural women are tightly packed by bricks, there is insufficient air supply to facilitate proper combustion. This results in higher emissions and lower thermal efficiency.”

Where Neerdhur scores are that it has provisions for increased air supply. “The volatile substances which usually do not get burnt in the traditional stoves are taken care of in Neerdhur which has a combustion chamber,” said Gupta.

Neerdhur has chambers at the top where small wood chips can be inserted to facilitate cooking in limited quantity. In traditional stoves, women use wooden logs even when cooking for a short time. “As per our observation, this would result in fuel wastage. Neerdhur’s efficiency level is 33.33% while that of the traditional stove is 12-15%. Wood usage is halved and helps save the pressure on the environment,” said Labhsetwar.

By using Neerdhur, rural women can hope for better health. “Most suffer from respiratory diseases as they are directly exposed to the smoke. Studies have shown that death rates in India are more due to indoor pollution in rural areas,” said Gupta, adding that even slum-dwellers and street vendors can use the stove.

Over 50 stoves were distributed in two villages of Nagpur district more than a year ago. “We have been constantly monitoring and also incorporated modifications as suggested by the villagers,” said Gupta, adding that another 100 would be distributed soon.

Neeri’s stove has been approved and certified by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) and meets the emission parameters of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). “The institute has applied for its patent and registration of six designs of Neerdhur,” said Neeri director Rakesh Kumar. The institute is now looking at starting commercial production. “We have called for expression of interest from entrepreneurs and start-ups who can obtain a license from us,” added Kumar.

Neeri expects the cost of Neerdhur to be around Rs 1200 after getting subsidized by MNRE.

About Neerdhur

  • Consumes less firewood and other types of fuel
  • Has high thermal efficiency
  • Reduces emissions and cooking time
  • Has provision for air supply
  • Has slots to insert firewood pieces for less quantity cooking
  • Less emissions mean better health for the user

Source: “The Times of India