Tier 4: Turning the Energy Ladder Upside Down?
Dean Still

Several converging factors support the move for international stove standards. The health community pushes for super clean combustion to address the four million per-year deaths from breathing wood smoke. Climate change specialists find that soot is warming the planet especially where it falls on snow and glaciers.

Burning sustainably harvested biomass super cleanly can result in a carbon neutral energy source. In Europe, where climate change is taken seriously, biomass heating and cooking is expanding. The Tier 4 approach may be ‘turning the energy ladder upside down”. Burning sustainably harvested biomass super cleanly may emerge as natural and preferable when compared to coal generated electricity or even natural gas which adds CO2 to the atmosphere.

Tier 4 performance becomes globally important, as important for the developed countries as for developing countries. In some ways, humanity is in one boat and whether we are in first, second, or third class cabins by necessity people travel in one direction on the same boat.

Thinking about the relevance of Tier 4 performance makes me more sensitive to smoke. When I see so much smoke pouring out of homes heating with wood here in Oregon I’m very glad that the EPA is tightening regulations!

4 grams per hour was permitted but the new EPA regulations will lower the amount of PM 2.5 to 1.4 grams per hour. For measures of indoor emissions Tier 4 is even stricter.

When the super clean cookstove puts all emissions into the room Tier 4 only allows 0.12 grams of PM 2.5. Of course, heating stoves burn a lot more wood per hour and the emissions from a heating stove go up the chimney and are diluted.


Help Marco Tulio!
Dean Still

Recently, about 60 people spent a week in Antigua, Guatemala working on ISO standards for biomass cookstoves. Some folks visited the nearby EcoComal factory that is assisted by StoveTeam International. Visitors from GIZ were surprised by the efficient and modern production. They wished that small factories like Marco Tullio’s existed more frequently in Africa.

I noticed that while there were metal brakes, welders, and plasma cutters that the cement (that goes into the stove bodies) was mixed by hand. I’ve mixed a lot of cement by hand in my life and every time I get to use a simple cement mixer I am happy and feel lucky.

When we were leaving to go back to the hotel in Antigua I found a chance to ask Marco Tulio what machine would be helpful. He immediately said that a cement mixer would be really great!

There were many passengers on the bus who pitched in to buy the two bag $1300 cement mixer. Aprovecho committed to make up the balance. Is there any possibility that you could help? The donations to Stove Team International are tax deductible and you help ease the backs of the five workers who are mixing, mixing every day.

To learn more or contact StoveTeam International, please visit