Improved Cook Stove Programme Lao PDR
Annual report 2011
Worker at the producer workshop in Ban Beuk village,
backfilling of insulation materials.
NORMAI, Non-Profit Association for Rural Mobilisation and Improvement
House No 310/21 Nalao village P.O Box: 1133
Kaisone Phomvihan District
Tel: +856-41-215017/ 260191
Fax: +856-41-215017/ 260191
Khamleth (Ms.) programme manager
Bastiaan Teune (Mr.) renewable energy sector leader SNV Lao PDR
List of abbreviations and terms used
AWBT Adapted Water Boiling test
BMF Blue Moon Fund
CCT Controlled Cooking Test
DST Department of Science and Technology
EU European Union
fNRB fraction Non Renewable Biomass
GACC Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
HFCT Household Fuel Consumption Test
IAP Indoor Air Pollution
ICS Improved Cook Stove
Laos Lao People’s Democratic Republic
LWU Lao Women Union
Normai Non Profit Association for Rural Mobilisation and Development
ON Oxfam Novib
PCIA Partnership for Clean Indoor Air
RE Renewable Energy
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
STTC Savannakhet Teachers Training College
SVKU Savannakhet University
WBT Water Boiling Test
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Table of contents
SUMMARY OF PROGRESS AND PRIORITIES .................................................. 4
PREPARATION PHASE ................................................................................ 10
PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT ....................................................................... 10
STOVE TESTING .......................................................................................... 12
MONITORING ............................................................................................. 15
PRODUCERS ............................................................................................... 16
RETAILERS ................................................................................................. 18
POTENTIAL DONORS AND CARBON INVESTORS ......................................... 18
SNV ADVISORY SERVICES .......................................................................... 19
FINANCE ................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.22
LESSONS LEARNED ..................................................................................... 22
ANNEX 1 TESTING EXPERIENCES ............................................................... 23
ANNEX 2 PHOTOGRAPHS ............................................................................ 25
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This is the annual report 2011 of the Improved Cook Stove (ICS) Programme in Lao
PDR. This document has the purpose to share the progress, priorities and lessons
learned among partners. Benchmark to this report are the annual plan (April 2011-
March 2012) and the agreement between Oxfam Novib (product I).
On behalf of the ICS team, we hope you will enjoy reading this report.
Summary of progress and priorities
Over its nine month of operation, from April to December 2011, the ICS Programme
has made significant progress in terms of capacity building, networking and results.
As per planning, the initial year was to focusing on learning, linking and gaining
hands on experience. Three main challenges needed to be addressed:
1. What is the actual performance of the Tao Payat compared to traditional
This comes back to testing that capture the efficiency of stoves. After considerable
efforts the testing results have reached statistical validation (COV<5%) and reveal
that the Tao Payat for charcoal indeed saves fuel and time for cooking with figures
varying around 20%.
2. How do fuel saving translate to carbon savings?
Nexus, a social carbon developer, prepared a report on the assessment of the
fraction non renewable biomass (fNRB). The first draft report indicates about 50%
fNRB, which close to earlier assumptions. The final report is due in Q1 2012 and will
integrate the recently released methodologies.
3. If the Tao Payat is better than traditional stoves, how to increase its market
The value chain is constrained by supply rather than by demand. First monitoring
data showed that stoves indeed stay on the shell of retailers for just one week before
they are sold. On the supply side, labour is the main limiting factor. In close
cooperation with more advanced producers from Thailand, a mould was developed
that reduce production time. First results seem promising but need to be further
explored early 2012.
In 2011 constructive working relations with the producers have been established
with at least two out of the three producers. The local authorities in the village are
well informed and supportive to the programmes and its objectives. The programme
staff has gained in dept understanding of the production of stoves to become able to
better support the supply line.
Many retailers have been visited and a mapping took place to define smaller and
bigger shops and market places. Retailers are pivotal in promotion, marketing and
monitoring as well in quality assurance, and will be involved in the upcoming
marketing and promotion strategies.
In 2011 a household fuel consumption test started in results are expected early
2012. The test is very relevant as it gives a figure of real savings. GERES will help us
to finetune our survey in March 2012.
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After many trails and errors and a lot of efforts, the testing start to bear fruits. The
results are that the Tao Payat is a stove that performs better, especially after a
cooking period of 15 minutes, evidencing time and fuel savings by 20%.
Monitoring and labelling:
A first pilot of monitoring and labelling was started with serial numbers for just over
1,000 labels in 2011 and this will continued in the coming years. Besides, a Dbase
was developed and preliminary analyses were made to calculate the time from
production to user, as well as the production and retail numbers.
In cooperation with Terra Clear a so called non renewable biomass fraction (FNRB)
assessment was conducted by Nexus that will be finalised in 2012. First indications
show out that around 50% fNRB is valid. This figure was also assumed in the project
implementation plan of 2010 and will be finetuned according to the newest
methodologies in Q1 2012.
The project was operated by a very motivated team of five staff at Normai office and
with the help of three SNV advisors. The set up of the office went smoothly.
Enthusiasm and ambition well outweighed the initial lack of experience and
understanding of ICS technology. A website was developed: http://www.normai-
In 2011 the depletion rates are as follows and should be viewed over nine months in
a 12 month budget in Euro:
Activities 12 month Expenditure April 2011- % Expenditure
Budget April December 2011
A.Project Direct 16,226.42 1,412.63 8.71%
B.Capacity building 52,216.98 18,145.35 34.75%
C.Project setup 3,207.55 2,626.45 81.88%
D.Staff cost 27,367.55 21,577.61 78.84%
E.Project running 8,061.32 5,960.50 73.94%
Total 107,079.81 49,722.53 46.44%
A short explanation per budget line:
A. Project Direct Cost. The expenditures under “direct costs” are lower due to
the limited number of monitoring as well as the fact that the promotion
materials have not been developed yet. This is done early 2012.
B. Capacity building cost. Most of the capacity building costs are pending, like
the household survey, the FNRB study and the second mission of GERES that
will take place in Q1 2012.
C. Project setup costs. Project set up costs are in line with budget depletion
D. Project running cost. The staff costs are the salary costs which follow the
projection of the budget.
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E. Project running costs are related to utilities to finance the office use of Normai
and are according to the budget.
Priorities for 2012
In 2012 the programme team will continue to work according to the year plan 2012,
following the priorities below:
1 2012 will continue testing and carrying out of kitchen surveys. This to test the
Tao Payat and the “renewed” Tao Payat produced by moulds, kilns and
other production methods.
2 The FNRB study will be finished and first engagements with carbon developers
are planned for this year.
3 The value chain of stoves will be improved on the supply side with a renewed
a. piloting of new moulds,
b. improve firing methods
c. improve business practises
d. other traditional cook stove producers (Champasak) will be included.
e. quality standards are agreed upon by producers, retailers and
4 On the demand side:
a. cooperation start with the Lao Women Union to educate and inform
villagers about the advantages of ICS.
b. Deploying retailers for quality control, promotion and monitoring of
c. Labels with logo and serial numbers will be put on the approved stoves
5 In 2012 Oxfam and SNV will continue working to attract finance to carry on
with the programme from 2013 onwards. This in cooperation with Blue
6 By the end of 2012 the new stove is tested and introduced on the market
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After the signature of the grant approval by Oxfam Novib, and the Memorandum of
Understanding between SNV Lao PDR (SNV) and Normai, the Improved Cook Stove
Program in Lao PDR formally commenced on the 1st of April 2011.
Oxfam Novib supports the program cost, whereas SNV provides advisory services to
the program that is executed by the Lao non-profit association for rural mobilizations
and improvement( Normai). Blue Moon Fund finances the larger share of SNV
advisory costs, cementing a solid partnership of likeminded organisations.
In the annual report the developments, achievements and lessons learned are
shared. We hope you will like reading it, for all us it was a great adventure starting
this exciting and daring programme.
Lao PDR is among the poorest countries in Southeast Asia and the least populated
(6.2 million). The rural and urban population depends primarily on wood and
charcoal for their cooking needs. Together they account for approximately 70% (!) of
the nation’s overall energy consumption. Such dependence on biomass resources
degrades local environments; demands considerable time in fuel collection is costly
and creates indoor air pollution that according to the World Health Organisation
causes the death of 2,600 people in Lao PDR per year 1. Further, the burning of
charcoal and wood (when classified as “non renewable”), considerably adds to green
house gasses in our atmosphere.
In order to mitigate these adverse effects and to capitalise on green house gas
emission reduction, a partnership of SNV, World Wildlife Fund and Oxfam Novib
prepared a detailed design study in 2010, based on which a strategy has been
formulated to develop the value chain of improved cook stoves (ICS). Over a period
of 8 years, the program will create a commercial viable cook stove sector resulting in
the dissemination of 420,000 stoves. The program builds further on earlier
interventions and pioneering work done by FAO, USAID, ARECOP, PADETC and the
This ICS program is considered to be innovative as it is one of the few initiatives in
South East Asia aiming at massive dissemination and having a solid monitoring
system in place that follows recognized quality standards. This allows verifiable
claims on both social development and green house gas emission reduction. The
latter opens windows of opportunity within the compliance or voluntary carbon
With a vision of an 8-year implementation plan, the first four years are designed to
be financed through donor funding, with the later years relying on carbon finance.
The first phase - 2011 to 2013 - is intended to prove viability, create leverage, and
to attract more and larger finance options able to cover the programmatic costs for
longer periods of time and for larger areas.
At the outcome level, the goal of the program is to build the capacity of the different
actors involved to a level where they are able to properly self-manage the program’s
activities. These activities are designed to strengthen the ICS value chain through
training, capacity building services, and hands-on support. Concurrently, the strict
requirements for possible carbon financing need to be taken into account and
adhered to. In this respect a solid baseline and monitoring system must be put in
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place, and the enforcement of a series of quality tests along the production line need
to be followed.
As a result of the program, the producers will produce more and higher quality
stoves, which are sold by retailers that follow an effective marketing and selling
strategy and are bought by well informed customers that are aware of the
advantages of ICS compared to traditional stoves. Local testing agencies are trained
to test and record the findings according to a rigorous testing protocol.
To develop further the existing value chain for ICS, the program focuses on the
following components: putting a standards and labelling system in place, capacity
building of producers, establish testing agencies, business development support to
retailers, and deployment of community mobilizers.
The purpose is to increase the market share of the better performing Tao Payat to
the expense of the traditional Tao Dam and Tao Lai.
Tao Dam Tao Lai Tao Payat
The task of the ICS coordinating unit at Normai, is to mobilise existing (inter)national
ICS organisations and specialists to support the value chain via different service
contracts. (Inter)national experts will train producers and advise on testing
protocols; business training providers will train the retailers, and promotion experts
will target the capacity of the designated community mobilizers. The different layers
within the program are presented in the pictorial framework below.
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Advisory coordinating SNV/Oxfam/BMF
board support unit
Provider stove Provider test Provider Trainer
training training and marketing and promotion
tech standards selling training campaign
Producer Testing Agency Retailers Users
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Between January and March 2011 Oxfam Novib agreed to invest in the ICS
Programme. On the 17th of March 2011 Oxfam Novib and SNV Lao PDR signed the
Approval of Project Financing of the ICS Programme, and SNV decided to support the
Programme with advisory services (one full time national and one half time
In the meanwhile, an assessment under seven Lao organizations was made to select
the most appropriate executive partner. SNV send out a call for expression of interest
based on which seven organizations responded. Normai had the most favourable
profile in terms of management, mandate, track record and ambition.
The ICS unit consist out of five staff members, with the support of three SNV
advisors, which are introduced further:
ICS team from left to right: Mr. Ananh, technician, Ms. Khamleth, project manager
Ms. Vilaylack, finance officer, Ms. Phetdavan finance manager, Bastiaan Teune, SNV
sector leader renewable energy, Mr Amphone, director of Normai, Mr. Santi, SNV
Renewable Energy advisor. SNV advisor Mr Bounthavy Sengtakoen and consultant
Damien Delaplace are not in the picture.
The ICS unit functioned very well, in good harmony and with a lot of energy.
Considering its innovative character, for most of the activities followed unthreaded
paths and had to be explored and discovered. This brings forward excitement but also
poses organizational challenges which are thus far tackled with diligence.
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A website was launched in December 2011 and will be developed further in the course
of 2012: www.normai-site.org/ics
Every month an internal monthly work plan and progress report was circulated by the
team to keep track of progress in great detail. The line management falls under
Normai’s organizational structure and ensures a conduce working environment.
SNV brings in its advisory services by two national advisors and one international
advisor to support the management, the organizational and institutional strengthening
and to gives guidance to the strategic interventions for the development of the
cookstove value chain.
A digital library has been put in place that stores a lot of relevant documentation of
cookstoves Programme experiences and reference data from around the world.
Especially the publications and the support by GERES in Cambodia as well as Thai
producers and University are useful as those are closely related to the Lao context.
On the 28th of April, the project organized a provincial consultation meeting at the
Normai office, with a total of 25 participants, including 5 women. The objective of the
meeting was to consult and discuss on ICS implementation plan. Participants came
from various organizations: like the Lao Union of Science and Engineering
Associations, Advisory Board members of Normai, SNV advisors, Department of
science and technology (DST), Savannakhet Teacher Training College ( STTC) ,
Savannakhet University (SVKU) , the three cookstove producers , Lao Women Union
(LWU), representatives of stove retailers, the ICS team and the director of Normai.
Figure 1 Consultation meeting at Normai, 28th of April 2011
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Testing of biomass- fuelled cook stoves requires specific skills that are uncommon and
unknown to most people and organizations. Therefore new testing agencies had to be
established at local institutes with affiliation to research and/or testing, and with the
willingness and ability to become trained in cookstove testing protocols.
In 2011 it became evident that perhaps even more than the production itself, the
testing of stoves plays a vital role under the programme. It needs to be proven what
the actual fuel (and carbon) savings of the stoves are, compared to the stoves used in
the baseline situation. Besides new stove designs need to be tested to assess the
The principles of testing may not be very difficult to understand, in practice however it
takes a lot of experience and persistence to get the results right and it took
considerable efforts to train the testing agencies. In principle all three agencies were
assigned to test 200 stoves under separate contracts, that were extended depending
on the earlier performance. For all agencies the programme supplied equipments like
weights, thermometers, moister meters and small equipments such as pans and
utilities. This was done based on an extended research on costs, quality and
Regional workshop/Aprovecho training
In 2010 SNV replied to a call for proposals and won a training provided by a reputed
cookstove testing and research institute, Aprovecho, from the USA. The training took
place in March 2011 and brought about a dynamic start to the Programme.
The training kicked off with an international workshop for thirty-four experts,
academics, and entrepreneurs from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. They
gathered to discuss how to create a cleaner, more efficient stove during the Stove
Design & Testing Workshop on March 14-16. Participants shared methods to design,
evaluate, and commercialize improved-stoves that use less fuel and produce less
Figure 2 Water boiling test during the practical testing sessions in Vientiane
at the LIRE facilities.
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Figure 3 Outdoor lecture Aprovecho trainers
The workshop was co-organized by SNV and by the Laos Institute for Renewable
Energy (LIRE), and financed by the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA), the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), USAID, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of State’s Lower Mekong Initiative
Programme. See more about this event on:
After the workshop an intensive, one-week training on water boiling tests and
controlled cooking tests was provided to the proposed local testing agencies:
1. Teachers Training College,
2. Savannakhet University,
3. Department of Science and Technology.
As a spin off the relations with especially USA based organizations was established. A
delegation of the USA embassy visited the Programme on the 26th of May.
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Testing results 2011
In 2011 the programme managed to arrive at statistically valid results that
underscore the better performance of the current ICS (Tao Payat) compared to the
Traditional Stove (Tao Lai and Tao Dum). Preliminary results are presented in the
Water boiling tests:
Differences between stoves are low for both cold and hot start, but in the simmering
phase differences between stoves are very high.
Controlled cooking test:
The specific fuel consumption (grams of charcoal/Kg of meal) shows less fuel is
needed for meals that require simmering. For rice (cold start) the traditional stoves,
Tao Dam and Tao Lai, show even somewhat better performances but for cabbage only
(hot start) the Tao Payat stoves are performing much better than traditional stoves.
The Tao Payat saves time due to its superior heat transfer, explained by its design
and insulation capacity. This will be another convincing argument for prospective
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The programme faced with challenges to get the results right due to the complexity of
testing, the capabilities and the organisational strengths of the testing agencies. At
the same time the help from Aprovecho through emails was very much appreciated as
well as the support by GERES. The hurdles faces are presented in more detail in
Household Fuel Consumption Test
The third stove testing method is the so called household fuel consumption test, which
measures the fuel consumption in the real situation, at the kitchens of families. The
difference in fuel consumption and cooking time is determined when using different
cook stoves. For this test, the GERES protocol was followed and adapted to the Lao
context. The preliminary results are that the Tao Payat saves 20 % charcoal, however
results of the first test lack statistical validations and are to be improved with the final
version that is due early 2012.
In 2011 a first trial in monitoring practise took place in the second half of 2011.
Labels with serial numbers were printed and 6,000 labels handed out to the
The producers received record books to keep track of the productions and selling
data. Retailers were trained in filling out the forms to gather users data and keep
track of their selling records.
An Access Dbase that was made by an IT expert and is still under development. In the
meanwhile the team practises monitoring by using more straightforward Excel
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Around 10 retailers were involved in the monitoring by keeping track of selling records
and the date. The time between production and use is about seven days. It
underscores that the stoves are indeed easily sold.
User data should be connected to the serial number, like the name, address and
telephone number. It seemed the the retailers are reluctant to spend time writing
down the address and other questions. Moreover, most people do not have an
address. In 2012 an alternative way of getting user data is piloted, one of which is to
let people write down their name to put in a box and then organise lucky draws.
Programme staff frequented the producers to gain experience about the method of
production and to measure the differences in dimensions between design and actual
production. Also it established relations that were received warmly by Mr. Soukhan
and Bounlard; Ms. Viengkham shows some hesitation and remains despite many talks
a bit sceptical towards the programme. The programme however does not rely on just
these three producers but will include Tao Lo producers as well.
The team learned about the production process, how improvements and introduced
moulds that standardize the mode of production. It is now well understood how the
manufacturing takes place and what the limitations are. In January 2012 the
producers will receive training by the Thai experts that have worked with them over
the past 10 years.
Comparison the current size of Tao Payat and standard size ICS from The Asia
Regional Cook Stove Program (ARECOP) is explained by the drawing made by the the
ICS unit based on the measurement of some 50 randomly selected stoves:
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The average dimensions of Tao Payat that The original and standard size from
is produced by the producers in 2011. ARECOP.
Mr. Soukhan Chamonty
– Operating since 2000
– Production 30,000 stoves per year
– 20 employees (16 women) in dry season, 5-6 during wet season
– Business registered with District Chamber of Commerce and
– Has a detailed business plan for expanding his business
– Distribution areas: Champon, Outhomphon, Paksong,
Atsaphongthong, Kaysone, Thakhek
– Net income from business is approximately USD $10,000 per
Mr. Bounlerd Chamonty
– Operating since 1999
– Production 17,500 stoves per year
– 10 full time employees (4 women)
– Business registered with District Chamber of Commerce and
– Has a detailed business plan for expanding his business
– Distribution areas: Kaysone, Atsaphongthong, Xaibouri,
– Net income from business is approximately USD $6,000 per year
Mrs. Viengkham Thongmanyvong
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– Operating since 1999 and scaled-up in 2008
– Production 22,250 stoves per year
– 6 full time employees (2 women)
– Business registered with District Chamber of Commerce and
– No business plan, but wants to expand (double production)
– Distribution areas: Champon, Kaysone, Phin, Outhomphon
1. Net income from business is approximately USD $7,700 per
The programme staff assessed many retailers in Savannakhet and worked with them
to follow up on the monitoring. Also they were represented in the stakeholder
workshop at Normai. The retailers are a very important source of information as they
are well positioned between producers and users and will be the one of the main
beneficiaries of the value chain improvements.
Potential donors and carbon investors
Although the programme has started recently, already donors and carbon investors’
interest were gauged in 2011. It is recognized that by nature the improved cook stove
programme has a high appeal by donors and funding agencies. Reasons for that are
the obvious relations to livelihood improvement, environmental protection, gender,
enterprise development, GHG emission reduction and health. Underneath a summery
of main development are provided:
The Bleu Moon Fond is currently supporting the biogas Programme and has commited
to finance the advisory services by SNV for the period 2012-2013 as well. This is
instrumental to continue the programme as it envisioned to do.
The US government initiated the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves,
www.cleancookstoves.org, which is a platform for political high level dialogue and (in
kind) support to the development of cook stove initiatives. The alliance is a public-
private initiative with the aim to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and
combat climate change by creating markets for clean and efficient household cooking
Accordingly the US embassy in Vientiane was approached with a proposal to finance a
smaller part of the programme, namely the office costs of an additional ICS unit in
Vientiane. This however was rejected, but in-kind and moral support remains.
The ADB was preparing an initiative on gender and carbon mitigation, “Harnessing
Climate Change Mitigation Initiatives to Benefit Women” involving a consultancy
package on knowledge development, institutional support and others. It does not
finance Programme implementation costs nor does it directly affect the ICS
Programme. However, the ICS Programme is the only Programme with a tangible
relation between gender and carbon. As such SNV agreed the Programme can act as
example/showcase under this ADB project anticipating a possible follow up might offer
A somewhat similar ADB initiative is the so called “Capacity Building for Efficient
Utilization of Biomass for Bioenergy and Food Security in the Greater Mekong
Subregion”. This is mainly about the assessment of bioenergy Programmes and has
like the other Programme not (yet) finance for Programme implementation.
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In 2012 a WB/Ausaid initiative will start comprising four counties and aiming at
domestic biogas and ICS programmes.
Early 2012 the EU will open a call on EU Switch Asia that is explored in 2012. This
may offer a four year programme for about 2 mln Euro.
On the Asian regional level SNV was making first attempts with the European
electricity-giant RWE about a carbon upfront investment in the framework of a multi
country initiative on ICS. This however was in an early stage deemed not feasible.
Another possible carbon investor is Nexus, a carbon broker of private equity that
seeks to invest in “charismatic” carbon projects. Nexus is a spin-off from GERES and
has ample experience in ICS and carbon development and as such could be a suitable
partner for this ICS Programme.
In a co-finance arrangement with Terra Clear, an initiative on ceramic filter systems
to improve drink water quality, the progressive carbon developer Nexus, started the
assessment of the non renewable biomass fraction, or FNRB. First drafts indicated the
assessment of the FNRB in Laos. Figures come close to 50%, which was assumed in
2010. In 2012 however this assessment will be finetuned according to new
methodologies and then brought up as default value at the IPCC. In that case the
FNRB will not be contested in the future carbon validations and verifications.
SNV advisory services
With gratitude to the support by Blue Moon Fund, SNV Laos provided through its
renewable energy sector (RE) team continuing advisory services to the biogas
program. The team consisted of:
Bastiaan Teune, the international advisor in the position of renewable energy
sector leader (50%), and responsible for the strategic directions, contents,
finance and acquisition.
Santi Inthavong, national advisor in Savannakhet (90%) supporting the ICS
programme on daily basis.
Bounthavy Sengtakoun, national advisor at the biogas office in Vientiane as
active for only 10% on ICS, providing management and technical support to
the program and
In addition to this, SNV Laos offered ongoing support in 2011 and provided valuable
advises by its management team:
Ms. Megan Richie, successor of Nicolette Matthijsen, director SNV Lao PDR
Mr. Keolab Songsamayvong, portfolio coordinator and line manager (replaced
Robin van Kippersluis):
Mr. Boun Xaiyarath, financial manager
Mr. William Murray and Ms. Tik Khautisen of the ‘business support’ unit,
providing continues support to the RE team on resource mobilisation.
Mr. Wim van Nes, corporate biogas network leader based in the Netherlands
and focal point to the Global Alliance of Clean Cookstoves.
On top of this, one senior international part time consultant, Mr. Damien Delaplace,
has been recruited to give direct hands on support to specific issues that needed
extra attention. He proved valuable to the proceedings in testing, monitoring, dbase
development and many other items he is working on till date.
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SNV also handed over its used car (a Toyota pickup truck) to allow the many field
visits to producers in and around Savannakhet and it handed over a number of
assets from its office in Savannakhet like desks, chairs, whiteboards, printers, LCD
and one motor bike.
In summary, and according to those lines, the SNV Laos renewable energy team has
performed the following:
1. In 2011 the renewable energy team of SNV Laos finetuned and put the
concepts and ideas that were formulated in 2010 in practise.
2. After a careful procedure SNV advisors were instrumental to the designation
of the executive coordinating body.
3. Especially Santi Inthavong was key to the preparation of the programme, and
he is based on daily basis at the ICS unit of Normai.
4. SNV advisors helped to give directions to the new team and established
effective linkages with national and international organisations and
individuals; i.e. GERES, Aprovecho, Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves,
Partnership on Clean Indoor Air, and cookstove initiatives by SNV in other
5. SNV drafted the proposal for Aprovecho to come to Vientiane to provide a
training in testing.
6. To strengthen team spirit, SNV advisors stimulated the ICS staff by
encouraging self development and confidence.
Fund raising activities
1. SNV renewable energy team was excited it successfully submitted a proposal
to the Blue Moon Fund.
2. Concept notes were shared with the World Bank and the USA embassy to
gauge their interest.
3. The programme received keen interest from the ADB to link up their climate
mitigation and gender initiatives.
1. SNV participated in the Nexus/UNDP/BMF Rural Energy and Climate Initiative
workshop in Phnom Penh. This event was very meaningful event to learn from
other initiatives and to expose the biogas program to a wider international
audience of experts. See http://www.nexus-c4d.org/news/news-updates/63-
2. At the FAO ‘Sustainable Bioenergy Symposium’; from 1-3 June in Bangkok, a
presentation and a paper was provided by Bastiaan about the concept of
energy poverty and the biogas/ICS programs. Paper will be published in
3. From 27-28 June, the SNV Asian Regional Renewable Energy Network Meeting
took place in Bangkok on progress and issues in the eight Asian biogas
programs, the newly established ICS programs and on international initiatives
such as E4All and Global Alliance on Clean Cookstoves.
4. On 24 August SNV partook in the Energy Efficiency Conference at the Plaza
hotel in Vientiane in which energy demand savings for the coming decade in
Asian countries were discussed.
5. Visits were paid to establish networks with the National University and the
Institute of Renewable Energy Technologies and the Ministry of Energy and
Mines in Vientiane.
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6. On 7 November Bastiaan made a presentation about energy poverty for an
audience of the Lower Mekong Initiative and to introduce the Global Alliance
for Clean Cookstoves.
7. Preceding the International Workshop on Domestic Biogas
in Bandung, Indonesia an SNV internal meeting took place in which ICS
activities were shared and discussed.
8. Santi Inthavong prepared a public version of the quarterly progress reports
and circulated this among a some large Lao e-networks and will continue to
do so to increase exposure and profile. In 2012 this will also be done at
international fora such as Hedon and PCIA and GACC.
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The programme has gained considerable knowledge about the development of the ICS
programme, and at the same it better understands the scope of work it is expected to
fulfil. Some or the items are worth mentioning here:
1. The programme is innovative and ambitious and faced a lot of challenges that
need to be figured out by trial and error. Therefore it is important to maintain a
conductive working environment focussed on learning by doing.
2. Testing of stoves plays a key role in the ICS Programme and it takes considerable
efforts and time to establish the required capacities.
3. The cookstove market is very diverse and difficult to classify
4. From a managerial point of view it was proposed to focus only on the most popular
model only, which is the Tao Payat with a upper pot rim diameter of 245-250 mm.
5. In line with the above, the start of the Programme will focus on charcoal stoves
and may include wood stoves in a later stage.
6. The experiences and expertise of GERES is very important as this programme has
many similarities in technology, approach and ambitions. A distinct difference
however is that this Programme relays much more on local capacities, making the
programme more sustainable on the long run, on the other hand it poses
challenge in terms of capacities, quality and progress on the shorter term.
7. Extra support by an international consultant was deemed required to fill in the
capacity gaps of the ICS unit at Normai. This primarily related to the technical
aspects of testing and analysis of results as well as monitoring and dbase design.
8. Knowledge development and exchange of information is considered very imporatn.
After meeting and workshop with partners or producers ICS team reflected what
have learnt. These meetings also established good working relationships.
9. Project received good cooperation and support from, Normai director, SNV,
provincial and district authorities in the implementation of the project activities.
10. Project team has organized monthly meetings in order to review the
implementation of the project activities of the previous month and to plan for the
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Annex 1 Testing experiences
In this annex and overview of the problems faced is described with the purpose to
learn and share our experiences. This is done with GERES, Aprovecho and PCIA.
One of the problems at the testing agencies was that instead of the teachers that
were trained by Aprovecho, untrained students and support staff were doing the
actual testing. Against expectations, the testing relied too much on the support
provided by the programme staff. At the Department of Science and Technology the
management was much better prepared and staffs were more dedicated to perform
the activities accurately.
To arrive at a significant confidence level of results, each stove needs to undergo a
series of at least three testings. It appeared that for a considerable number of
testings, the series of testing were not done with the same stove but with three
The Aprovecho forms did not allow room for more than three testings per stove,
whereas for an untrained tester, four to six tests are needed to come to significant
results. Therefore the form had to be changed and adapted. The forms are quite
complicated and so it was not easy to make the adjustments.
It seemed that the Aprovecho protocol is not as rigid as expected. During the
training in Vientiane it was explained that for simmering the temperature should
remain under boiling temperature and 96 degrees C., later on it was advised just to
let it boil, which is indeed much more practical but with this change it made it
difficult to compare results.
The thermometers were not easy to use due to the many buttons and options, and it
seemed they were not calibrated correctly. At the same time thermometers are
expensive, approximately 120 USD and needed to be imported from Thailand.
Charcoal comes in many different qualities and that heavily impacts the performance
which is unrelated to the stove. It seemed hard to find homogenous charcoal in the
market. Therefore the program did not look at absolute values, but focussed to
assess differences between stoves during the same test, on the same day and
It remained difficult to distinguish the different phase of boiling and to define the
difference between a roiling boil and simmering. This is arbitrary and can only be
solved by having one tester who is consequent in its own way of doing. Simmering
results often had high variance. Also the difference between hot start and simmering
was often questioned by the testers.
The different phases (especially simmering) take pretty long to implement and can
be boring to execute. Cold start and hot start take about 15 minutes each and
simmering 45 minutes. As a result testers often tended sideline activities or left the
lab area from time to time.
Due to the overall complexity of testing and language barriers and, the team
struggled to understand the meaning of testing. This led to practices that
undermined the validity of results:
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It was common to remove charcoal in the simmering phase to turn down the fire
power. This amount of charcoal however was left out of the equation and negatively
impacted the efficiency results of the stove.
Testing of similar stoves was done despite the fact that the programme aims to
assess different kind of stoves (traditional and improved ones) to make a proper
Initially the testers used charcoal pieces of uneven sizes, leading to important
variations of fire power and combustion patterns.
Fuel moisture need to be considered in the calculations. The team initially used a
moisture meter which is to measure wood moisture. However the tests are run with
charcoal, which requires method which is oven drying.
Difficulties emerged when trying to interpret the many different results popping up in
the Aprovecho spread sheets. It leaves the question open what stove is better or
worse and how to appreciate the figures in a correct manner.
The meaningfulness of the results is founded by statistical significance. Statistics
however are not mastered by the testing agencies and it took time for the team to
The common way of cooking among the targeted population takes about 1 hour and
30 minutes. It consists roughly in cooking rice, soup and vegetables. At the onset of
the cooking session, normally the cook loads the stove with enough charcoal for the
whole session The main objective of the cook is to save time, not to save charcoal.
Issues of relevance
The different phases of Aprovecho WBT don’t match much with the Lao cooking
This makes difficult the use of the WBT results:
- Cold start: as in reality stoves are used at full power during 1 hour 30
minutes, the cold start phase only simulates a very short and relatively meaningless
period of time.
- Hot start may be the most relevant phase, however:
o To remove all the charcoal and to restart the fire with the stove extremely hot
never happens in reality.
o To bring water from cold / warm to boiling temperature is relevant, but in
reality the boiling phase is even longer.
o This boiling phase is interrupted as soon as it occurs by the start of the
simmering phase (which requires a low power).
- Simmering phase: the simmering phase consist in reducing the fire power,
something which never occurs in reality. Adding just enough charcoal to keep a low
fire power is not practised in reality.
Issues around the CCT:
- The number of tests required (9 x 2) makes it time consuming.
- It requires a complicated planning which consists in having 3 different teams
shifting with one another and cooking alternatively on both stoves. This requires a
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Annex 2 Photographs
Record testing result to a form Explaination of WBT testing to
Cooking control test at SKU Water boilling test at STTC
Ms Megan Ritchie, country director SNV Lao PDR ICS team and Avisor consultation with local
visits ICS programme (in black in the middle) Authourities at champhon edistrict
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The ICS expertise from Cambodia support ICS LAO ICS project staff work closely with
Water test Cooking test
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