It was at the Impact Hub Barcelona where I first met Manon Michelle Monhemius. She is on a mission to educate the unsuspecting European co-working crowds to the many benefits of smokeless cooking. From stuffing a giant zucchini in Paris, to innovating on the invariable Swiss fondue in Geneva, and surprising the Monday crowd with lunch at Impact Hub Barcelona, Manon and her stove are not going unnoticed. Anchoring her trip is the European network of Impact Hubs and other co-working communities, ride-sharing, couchsurfing and Airbnb’ing. The driver behind this trip is the currently active Kickstarter campaign for the ACE 1 Ultra-Clean Biosmass Cookstove by African Clean Energy.
Why smokeless? Nearly half of the worlds population cooks on open fires or uses toxic fuels, producing dangerous cooksmoke that is critically damaging to the lungs and eyes, and severely limits health and quality of life. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 million(!) people die each year from the effects of indoor cooksmoke – more than both HIV and malaria combined. Furthermore, four million hectares of forest are cut down each year in Africa, the majority of which to provide fuel for cooking. That’s over 5.5 million football fields.Smoking hot
All of these problems can be solved by providing an alternative, cleaner way of cooking, hence the ACE 1. This colorful and nifty little stove runs on biomass, using the suns energy to power its fan which makes smokless burning possible. The stove is designed to be incredibly fuel-efficient without compromising on power, requiring up to 70% less fuel than traditional cooking methods in developing countries. This allows people to save money on fuel, or on time collecting it. As little as a few handfuls of twigs can be enough to cook on. Any biomass fuel can be used to light the stove, such as pellets or corn cobs/husks. Thanks to its USB port, the stove can even charge your phone and power an LED light, making it not only perfect for rural areas in developing countries but also for long beach nights and camping trips!
It runs in the family
African Clean Energy is a family-owned company based in Lesotho, founded by Stephen Walker and his son Ruben, in 2011. Their factory has produced 35,000 units of their original stove, and they plan to set up other local production lines overseas. As an African company, African Clean Energy aims to benefit the local economy as much as they can. Their decision to set up manufacturing in Lesotho came easily as it is a Least Developed Country (or LDC) rated nation, meaning job creation is sorely needed. They provide work for 60 locals at this point, both men and women, and can increase production (and thus employment) to over 250,000 stoves a year.
To further develop the ACE 1 and its distribution, African Clean Energy and Teach to Fish are jointly running a crowdfunding campaign which allows to express support in different ways. You can etiher buy a stove for yourself (didn’t get your hands on a Testla? There’s signature red now in the shape of an ACE 1), sponsor one for a family who needs it, or pitch in financially, even with just a small amount. By doing so, you’re supporting both the expansion of production in Lesotho, and lowering the cost per stove – making it more accessible to those who need it most.
Get in touch
After visiting Paris, Geneva and Zurich, Manon is currently in Spain, visiting Barcelona and Madrid. To get in touch and discuss collaboration – or share a meal on the ACE 1 – reach out to email@example.com or @ManonMonhemius.
Ruben Walker, CEO – firstname.lastname@example.org
Cassey Shapiro, Press Manager – email@example.com