Aprovecho is a U.S. based non­profit that is a world ­renowned pioneer in the development of high ­efficiency cookstoves for the developing world. The organization began in 1982, when Larry Winiarski, a PhD in mechanical engineering, designed the “rocket stove,” which is still the prototype for the organization’s line of cookstoves. They have since evolved into a nonprofit

dedicated to developing and disseminating appropriate technological solutions for refugees and impoverished communities across the globe.

Why cookstoves?

Over 40% of the world’s population still burns various forms of biomass as a cooking fuel, most often using a primitive stove design that has not advanced for millennia. The inefficient combustion emits harmful smoke that causes a range of chronic and acute health effects. The process also creates profound environmental damage. One billion families, each starting multiple fires a day, leads to deforestation and unsustainable carbon in the atmosphere. Moreover, those families have to spend a considerable amount of time

For more than twenty years Aprovecho Research Center has worked to expand the worldwide knowledge base and technical capacity of solid ­fuel cookstoves. Though it is recognized as a leader in the cookstove industry for its own “rocket stove,” product design is just a starting point for Aprovecho. The organization has worked to create industry standards, testing and rating the cookstove designs of other organizations for fuel efficiency and emissions. Moreover, Aprovecho has served as a global advocate for cookstoves and other appropriate technology, maintaining a network of 20 regional testing centers around the world.

These centers allow for in­field testing of stoves, but also function as hubs of education and advocacy, slowly evolving the way the world makes fire

We had a chance to talk with Dean Still of Aprovecho about both the history of Aprovecho and his thoughts for the future on Social Design Insights. Tune in here.


Cottage Grove, USA
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