Contact: Julie Chao, (510) 486-6491, [email protected]

Designed in Berkeley, California, manufactured in Mumbai, India and assembled in Darfur, Sudan, the Berkeley-Darfur Stove will soon be distributed to thousands of displaced families to cook meals in a way that is both fuel-efficient and safe for women. Because the stove uses up to four times less wood than the traditional three-stone stoves common in Darfur, women, who often walk for hours to collect firewood, will have far less exposure to violence.

A volunteer field engineer recently returned from two months in El Fasher, a town in northern Sudan, where he trained about 13 workers to assemble the stoves. All residents of a nearby camp for internally displaced people, the workers were paid about $1.50 per stove. “This stove is specifically tailored for the people in Darfur,” said Andree Sosler, executive director of the non-profit Darfur Stoves Project. “It’s also at least twice as efficient as the three-stone fires women use, plus it’s sustainable, meaning people can continue to use these for years.”

The lead designer of the Berkeley-Darfur Stove is Berkeley Lab scientist Ashok Gadgil, who traveled to Darfur in 2005 with a team of researchers from Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division. Gadgil, now acting director of the division, was given a Heinz Award this year for his efforts to improve energy efficiency and enhance the quality of life in developing countries.

The Darfur Stoves Project was established to produce and distribute the stoves and has support from the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley and the Sustainable Products and Solutions Program. This year, it contracted with a company in India and formed a partnership with Oxfam America and the Sustainable Action Group, a Sudanese charity, to ramp up production. The first shipment of 1,000 flat kits arrived in Sudan earlier this year, and Scott Sadlon, a recent graduate of Stanford University, spent two months training and overseeing the workers. By the middle of 2010, Sosler says 9,120 stoves will be assembled and distributed.

Women living in refugee camps in Darfur often walk miles to gather firewood. Volunteer Scott Sadlon trained workers in Darfur to assemble the Berkeley-Darfur stove, which is far more fuel-efficient than traditional stoves.

For additional information: