Super Team


Improved wood gasifier cooking stove: what it is and why use it?

The wood stove is the most commonly used domestic cooking appliance in households of the rural and urban poor residing in the South Asian Region. A majority of the stoves being used are, however, slow and inefficient, and are a health hazard due to the smoke they emit into the kitchen space. Every year, more than 1.8 million people in the world die of illness related to smoke from cooking fires. Most of these are children.  Traditional wood stoves also waste wood, and therefore contribute significantly to deforestation and the rapidly dwindling green cover. Women are most often burdened with collecting firewood, which takes up considerable time and effort from their other domestic chores. The improved wood gasifier cooking stove therefore, has been developed to minimize the inefficiencies and health risks caused by traditional wood stoves.

What is an improved wood gasifier stove?

The wood gasifier stove is an improved wood stove that produces gas from wood and then burns the gas, leaving ash and charcoal. These stoves are cleaner, fast and efficient and utilize small pieces of coconut shells, wood, sticks, or wood chips, which produce a clean flame without smoke. The wood gasifier technology used in this stoves is such that 300 gms of sticks or chips burn for 30-45 minutes at high efficiency, and on an average saves up to 2/3rds of fuel wood used in a traditional wood stove.

These improved stoves can be fabricated with locally available material in medium-sized workshops, and therefore has the potential of opening new business opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

What benefits does it bring to a poor household?

Apart from the health benefits of a smokeless kitchen, there are also many social and economic benefits this stove can offer.

Saving money on wood, charcoal or kerosene means that more money is available for food, education and medical care. It also reduces the time spent by women at the stove and collecting firewood. Further, the wood gasifier stove needs no special installation/infrastructure in the kitchen-not even a chimney as there is virtually no smoke emitted from it. This stove is also portable, and therefore can be used for income generating activities such as street food vending.All in all, the improved wood gasifier stove is seen as a way of boosting a family’s income and standard of living.

Is it environmentally friendly?
One of the main purposes of this improved stove is to reduce the pressure placed on local forests by reducing the amount of wood the stoves consume. The efficient use of wood fuel can be much more eco-friendly than more efficient and convenient fuels like kerosene and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) which, though easy to obtain are costly, and contribute to global warming.

Environmentally speaking, the wood gasifier stove is much more efficient than it’s more costly counterpart – the kerosene stove.  As long as wood burning is sustainable and doesn’t cause deforestation, its carbon emissions are neutral – as the gas released simply gets recycled back into more trees. (Source:

What types of fuel wood can be used?
Coconut shells, hardwood particles from timber stores, and wood chips from homegarden crops including the commonly grown ‘Gliricidia’ – the fuelwood tree.  It is important that the material used is clean and dry, so as not to emanate any smoke.

What is Practical Action’s involvement?
Practical Action, through its participatory need assessment process identified the need for more energy efficient, cost effective, environment friendly & cleaner cooking options, especially for poor families facing a shortage of cooking fuel. The participatory planning process revealed that families are receptive towards the introduction of fuel efficient cook stoves.

Practical Action’s stoves project in Sri Lanka dates back two decades, and since 1991 about half a million ‘Anagi’ stoves have been produced and sold within the country, withd more than 400 potters and installers trained in construction and installation. It is estimated that future production will reach around 120,000 per year, directly benefiting a large number of women (predominantly the cooks) and their children.

The wood gasifer technology is relatively new in Sri Lanka, and in order to create awareness among the users and relevant audiences on the new stove, workshops and meetings are held to demonstrate its use and benefits. Simultaneously, Practical Action facilitates training programs for local fabricators on the technology, maintenance and quality assurance of cook-stoves, thereby helping to build a high quality manufacture base.  In order to ensure a sound supply chain, attention is also paid to growing and processing fuelwood at household level, supplying of fuel wood and good quality stoves. For market sustainability, the quality of the supplies (fuel wood), products (stoves) and services (warranties, repairs, spares) are to be assured and improved.

In the long run, Practical Action hopes to influence the Sri Lanka Standards Institution to introduce National Standards for the fuel wood gasifier stoves.

What has been achieved so far?
07 fabricators have been trained on fabricating wood gasifier stoves using locally available material. Five of them commenced fabricating stoves within 2 weeks of the training, and have – as of end 2007 – completed 150 stoves. The selected beneficiary households have already been given awareness on the benefits and use of these new stoves that consume less fuel, emit less smoke, and cook much faster than their traditional counterpart.

How are the stoves financed?
The cost of a newly fabricated wood gasifier stove is Rs.3,000 , the total cost of which is initially funded by Practical Action.  The stove is then sold to the beneficiary family through the Village Development Committee (VDC) at Rs.1,500 with an initial payment of Rs.500 and the rest expected in monthly installments (approx. Rs.100). The remaining Rs.1,500 is saved in the VDC as a revolving fund for fabrication and promotion of more wood gasifier stoves.

List of trained and licensed manufacturers:

1. G.Samarasena, Modaragama, Wanduruppa, Ambalantota
2. N.W.Pradeep Kumara, Dharmapala Mawatha, Wanduruppa
3. W.A.Chandrasiri, Weerasinghe Iron Works, Mapalana,   Kamburupitiya
4. W.Nilame Muhandiram, Dalukshika Motors, Kalmunai Road, Ampara
5. J.M.Ananda, J.M.A. Iron Works, Ekkassa, Ambalantota
6. T.Kiruwaraga, Kandasami Kovil Veediya, Karaithivu-11, Karaithivu
7. P.K.Wilbert, 16-A, Kovil Mawatha, Bogahawatta, Dadella, Galle
Click on this link to download pdf file of Wood gasifier stove components.


Contact Us

Janathakshan Project

Practical Action Regional Office (Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan),

No 05, Lionel Edirisinghe Mawatha,

Colombo-5, Sri Lanka.


Tel : 94-11-2829412

Fax : 94-11-2856188

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