Recognizing that adding carbon to the atmosphere damages the Earth, financial markets in many parts of the world have established a mechanism to "offset" these additions. For example, trees absorb CO2 and can sequester it for centuries. Thus, planting trees is one mechanism for offsetting carbon releases. Driving your car releases CO2, and you can offset this by planting trees. But not everyone is able to start digging holes and planting trees to offset their carbon releases, so companies exist to do that for them. In fact, one can now offset carbon releases by a variety of beneficial activities. In addition to planting trees, one can donate solar ovens or highly efficient wood burning stoves, both of which can contribute to lowering CO2 in the atmosphere by reducing consumption of fuel. However, we point out that these offset options are only estimated offsets, costly, if not impossible, to verify.
To actually offset carbon release with trees, planting trees is only a beginning. Young trees must be watered and cared for until they are able to survive on their own. Otherwise, they will very likely die and sequester no carbon at all. Without expensive monitoring programs, there is no assurance that the tree that was planted will be cared for in order to survive and thus sequester carbon for more that a brief time. Similarly, donating solar ovens, while an elegant zero emission solution, does not assure that they will be used by the recipients. Highly efficient wood burning stoves, granted offsets on the presumed reduction of tree cutting, might or might not actually be used, and it cannot be guaranteed that the trees that were "not cut down for fuel" were not cut down for something else.
In view of these difficulties with assumed offsets, we at WorldStove, thanks to the WorldStove Five Step Program, LuciaStoves, and Bios, are happy to offer the world's first measurable carbon offsets. WorldStove has successfully established and continues to establish stove hubs in developing nations. Through our Five Step Programs, we create permanent local jobs building LuciaStoves and producing biomass fuel pellets. The combination of LuciaStoves and fuel pellets made from waste biomass* creates jobs, reduces indoor air pollution, and the resultant biochar is used to improve soils, create even more jobs, increase food security and provides the mechanism by which we can verifiably measure the offset you have purchased.
The LuciaStoves at each stove hub are tuned to be able to use pelletized local waste biomass effectively and modified to adapt to local cooking traditions. We are aware that there is no one stove best suited for every person and cooking tradition, so, rather than asking people to abandon their traditions and adapt to a stove, we adapt the LuciaStove to the people and their traditions. This respects the final customer** and increases the use and acceptance of the stoves.
Each stove hub produces stoves and pellets for the local community and is self sustaining. The char produced by the stoves is collected at the hub and entitles the local stove hub to carbon credits. Since WorldStove has always pledged 100% of all carbon credits earned to the local stove hub, this added revenue helps communities invest in themselves and expand their own programs without additional outside aid.
The amount a LuciaStove can measurably sequester will vary slightly based on which country you choose. Different fuels have different energy values so, the amount of fuel required to boil a liter of water will vary. Also, cooking methods vary. Frying is quick, simmering is slow. In general, however, about 20% of the fuel will be converted into biochar. In general, we calculate that an average family of five, cooking three meals a day will produce 300-500 grams of char each day, about 438 kg/year.Why can the Offset LuciaStove I purchase only go to specific countries?
Critical to making our offsets measurable, stoves are distributed only through established WorldStove stove hubs where trained local personnel collect, test, and weigh the biochar so that the external verification groups can thus certify the offsets generated.What countries may I choose from?
For now you may chose from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Haiti. Coming soon Senegal and Rwanda.Why do stoves have to be tuned?
If, for example, you change your own kitchen stove from city gas (methane) to bottled gas (LPG, propane) the stove will have to be adjusted, that is, tuned. In the same way, the gasses emitted in a LuciaStove that burns karité shell waste in Burkina Faso, will be tuned differently from a stove burning bagasse (sugar cane residue) in Haiti.Why not mass produce LuciaStoves in China or some country with low cost labor to get the cost down?
We are opposed to exploiting workers in other countries to save costs. Moreover, one of the primary objectives of WorldStove is to create local, self sustaining jobs while allowing advantages of industrial scale production, lower costs and higher quality. Despite their apparent simplicity, LuciaStoves are made up of precision components, and these can be economically produced only with advanced technology. These components are then shipped disassembled, which greatly reducing shipping costs, and put together by members of stove hubs.
Wood contains sequestered carbon, and another of our objectives is to discourage wood burning.Why not make LuciaStoves that can run on charcoal?
For every ton of charcoal produced, at least five tons of wood must be consumed.Do all LuciaStoves only work with pellets?
No. In some cases, we have found local biomass with the right balance of density and energy content to eliminate the need for pelletization.Why do some stove hubs make pellets while others do not?
See the above answer.Why does it take up to six months for my stove to arrive?
The time it takes to build your stove and inscribe it with your name, serial number, or company logo is relatively brief. Our most critical bottleneck is customs. With some of our programs, shipping and customs can take as little as a few days while others (such as Haiti where the infrastructure is still recovering from the earthquake) it can take months. We conservatively use the longest times as a deadline for delivery.