The Socioeconomic Development and Environmental Science (DSEA) department has been working to help bring fuel-efficient, low-pollution stoves to rural Hondurans. In 2009, the Zamorano Improved Stoves Certification Center was established, with financial support from the TPW Energy Collaborative. The Center seeks to assist non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies to provide impoverished Central Americans with fuel-efficient stoves to combat air pollution and the severe health problems associated with traditional firewood cook stoves. These stoves also significantly reduce fuel consumption, helping to curtail deforestation and atmospheric contamination.
Stoves are evaluated for their fuel efficiency, emissions levels, and acceptability to local populations, who have preferences influenced by the common ways of preparing traditional cuisine. Zamorano helps train local, small businesses in the construction of these improved models and also provides verification services to ensure that the stoves are built according to proper design and construction specifications to ensure maximum efficiency.
Zamorano students are participating in Learning-by-Doing modules, practicums, and thesis research in the stove certification center. They build stoves to understand construction principles, analyze various models for heat transfer efficiency and air quality, and test different fuel types, while learning about the protocols required to run a small research facility. In the coming year, Zamorano plans to offer “stove camps”, where regional participants can learn stove design principals, energy efficiency analysis, and explore potential strategies to foster larger-scale implementation.