Jet City StoveWorks


Jet City StoveWorks has developed a clean-burning cook stove, the Jiko Safi, that uses whole, unprocessed Jatropha seeds as its fuel. Jatropha grows wild and as a biodiesel crop throughout the Tropics, produces a seed that contains about 40% oil, and can be grown in hedges around land holdings so it need not displace land needed for food production. Planted around average-sized landholdings the hedge produces enough seed to fuel a family’s stove needs annually making it a low-cost, replenishable fuel that, if widely adopted, could prevent further deforestation and make daily living easier and safer for women and children in the developing world.

The Jiko Safi, a Top-Lit UpDraft gasifier stove, produces low CO and PM. It burns much cleaner than a three stone fire and therefore its use will significantly reduce indoor air pollution and its attendant deleterious health impacts on women and children. The stove creates a sustained burn that requires no maintenance and which competes favorably with other clean-burning cook stoves in terms of efficiency and ease of use, while at the same time equaling or surpassing their reduction of air pollutants. We have successfully tested the stove in Arusha, Tanzania. Our ultimate goal is to provide families throughout the developing world with access to this stove as a healthy and low cost substitute for wood burning three stone fires, to ensure local economic development by manufacturing the stoves locally, to encourage use of a replenishable fuel and develop retail Jatropha markets to deter further deforestation.

Organization Type Non-Governmental Organization

Contact Information

Primary Contact
Mr. David S Covert
Secondary Contact
Ms. Iona Stenhouse

Address 305 32nd Ave.
Seattle, WA
United States
Phone 206-725-9496
Fax 206-725-9496
Calling/Fax Instructions Call the number first so we can turn on the fax machine. You must reach a live person before transmitting the fax.

Our Focus

Primary Initiatives, Target Populations, and Scope of Work:

We are working with a metal worker in Arusha, Tanzania, who is building the stoves as well as the jigs and fixtures necessary to replicate their production elsewhere. In the next months, we hope to begin working with a local community bank that will finance the stove for users. The difference between the cost of Jatropha and the cost of wood or charcoal will make it possible for the borrower to repay the loan for the stove. We hope to distribute approximately 200 stoves in this first effort. Over the next three years, we expect to develop three more sites in East Africa, provide subsidies to other local manufacturers so they can purchase the jigs and materials necessary to produce the stoves, and work with local community financing entities to sell the stove, and with local energy businesses to develop retail markets for Jatropha.

Fuels/Technologies: Biomass
Alternative biomass, eg. jatropha and or castor seed
Sectors of Experience: Agriculture
Renewable Energy
Rural Development
Countries of Operation: Tanzania
United States

Our Experience And Interest In The Four PCIA Central Focus Areas

Social/Cultural barriers to using traditional fuels and stoves:

We know from field work that people who grow Jatropha and have used the stove like it and are willing to use their seeds as fuel rather than sell them into the commercial Jatropha market at least where the commercial price is low. We do not expect to distribute the stoves where there is a well-developed commercial demand for Jatropha and a transportation system that facilitates its movement, because it will not likely be cost effective. But in areas where the cost of transporting fuel is high and the buyers of Jatropha few, such as in most of East Africa, a stove that operates by using Jatropha seed that may be rotting on the vine and requires no processing or equipment will be cost effective and well received. We anticipate that people who currently do not buy their fuel, but gather it instead, will be less willing or able to buy a stove. We expect to collaborate with agricultural NGOs to help these farming families plant Jatropha around their holdings so that, within five years, they will have a supply of seeds that will make their use and purchase of the stove feasible. We insist that the stove be used either outdoors or, if inside, with a chimney vented to the outside. We don't know yet if the stove's immobility inside will be viewed as a detriment.

Market development for improved cooking technologies:

Jet City StoveWorks’ focus until now has been developing the stove and testing it. Many of the cooks who participated in our recent Kitchen Performance Test wished to buy to the stove and did so, though at a subsidized rate. In the next few months, we hope to initiate a distribution plan in Tanzania of approximately 200 stoves in collaboration with a local community bank. Should this be successful, we anticipate establishing other manufacturing sites and identifying other local community financing entities in East Africa where Jatropha is plentiful and the price low. We anticipate that we will be able to double the distribution of stoves annually in each site over that time. We require that the stove be manufactured locally to provide local economic development activities as well as to be able to ensure that the stove can be repaired to prolong its life and use. Ultimately we hope to collaborate with government entities and NGOs around the world who are promoting Jatropha production. Finally, we will be working on developing retail markets for Jatropha through local energy providers.

Technology standardization for cooking, heating and ventilation:

We have followed the development of gasifier stoves. The challenge for the Jiko Safi, as with all TLUDs, is developing a method of turning down the heat that will allow food to simmer that does not simultaneously increase CO and PM. The stove's design allows the pot to be replaced with another pot and left on the stove top near the flame so that it will remain warm, but not at a simmer. So far we do not believe that fans, used by other TLUD developers for this purpose, are feasible alternatives in Africa because of their cost and lack of durability.

Indoor air pollution exposure and health monitoring:

The Jiko Safi has undergone the Water Boiling Test in Uganda, Tanzania and at Aprovecho. It has participated in two Kitchen Performance Tests in rural villages near Arusha, Tanzania. We are currently arranging to test for indoor air pollution among cooks in Tanzania using the IAP developed by Aprovecho. We hope to participate in the EPA smoke study in the fall of 2011. We are also attempting to devise a method of laboratory testing to determine if components that are known to be in Jatropha seed, are also present in the smoke, and if present, if in quantities that may be harmful.

Relevant Publications or Studies

None noted

Our Contribution to the Partnership

We would like to collaborate with other organizations that are promoting the use of replenishable, alternative fuels and cook stoves that burn them cleanly and efficiently so that we can learn from each others' successes and difficulties in introducing a new fuel source. We are also have a continuing interest in TLUD stove development and refinement. We would appreciate being kept informed of marketing studies that might provide innovative approaches to marketing the Jiko Safi, as well as the experience of other stove makers regarding subsidies, positive or negative. We are happy to share information about Jatropha and the Jiko Safi.