Quantifying the Environmental Impacts of Cookstove Transitions: A Societal Exergy Analysis Based Model of Energy Consumption and Forest Stocks in Honduras


Unsustainable consumption of biofuels contributes to deforestation and climate change, while household air pollution from burning solid biofuels in homes results in millions of premature deaths globally every year. Honduras, like many low and medium Human Development Index countries, depends on primary solid biofuels for more than 30% of its primary energy supply (as of 2013). We conducted a societal exergy analysis and developed a forest stock model for Honduras for 1971–2013 and used the results to model an energy transition from traditional wood stoves to either improved efficiency wood cookstoves or modern fuel cookstoves (using Electricity or Liquefied petroleum gas) over the period 2013–2050. The exergy analysis and forest model enabled quantification of the environmental tradeoffs between the improved efficiency and fuel switching scenarios. We find that the continued reliance on wood within both the existing and improved wood cookstove scenarios would exhaust forest stocks by 2050, though improved efficiency could reduce national greenhouse gas emissions. Modern fuel cookstoves would reduce household air pollution, emissions, and deforestation. However, the best alternative to successfully reduce household air pollution, GHG emissions, and deforestation is a rapid switch to electric stoves with significant investment in renewable-based electricity.

Elvin Vindel
Elvin Vindel
PhD Student

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