In 2011, Dr. Samuel Baldwin at the Department of Energy (who wrote the Bible on cook stoves in 1987) organized a two-day 100 person conference to identify how cook stoves could be improved and manufactured. Key recommendations were:
- At least 90% emissions reduction and 50% fuel savings are appropriate initial targets for biomass cook stoves.
- Multiple stove designs will be needed to accommodate a variety of cooking practices, fuels, and levels of affordability.
- Technical R&D should guide and be guided by field research, health, social science, and implementation programs. At every stage, laboratory and fieldwork should be integrated into an iterative cycle of feedback and improvement.
- The cost and performance tradeoffs associated with the use of processed versus unprocessed fuels should be explored. While processed fuels can improve stove emissions and efficiency, the processing adds additional costs and these fuels may require a fuel distribution system.
From 2013-2015, ARC received a grant from DOE and spent three years establishing a baseline of stoves in use and then improved five types of stove prototypes with the iterative development process using the LEMS emission hood. The lab testing showed how combustion and heat transfer could be improved in those five types of stoves with the hope that field testing would evolve useful products that use less fuel and make less smoke. A book was written: Clean Burning Biomass Cookstoves, (2015) available on the publications page. The book was updated in 2021.