There is a great story in the New Yorker by Burkhard Bilger about a group working on developing highly efficient and cheap stoves for third world countries. These stoves aim to significantly cut fuel use and emissions, as well as be cheap to produce, possibly even from local materials.
From the article:
In the small but fanatical world of stovemakers, Peter Scott is something of a celebrity. For the past seven years, under the auspices of the German aid agency GTZ, Scott has designed or built some four hundred thousand stoves in thirteen African countries. He has made them out of mud, brick, sheet metal, clay, ceramic, and discarded oil drums. He has made them in villages without electricity or liquid fuel, where meals are still cooked over open fires, and where smoke is the sixth leading cause of premature death. In the places where Scott works, a good stove can save your life.
Link to the article:
(subscription required for full article, sorry)
Bilger followed up the story with a post to his blog.
Here’s a stove that Bilger mentions in his blog, the BioLite camp stove:
This stove is not yet in production (coming Spring 2010), but here are the specs for the prototype:
• Boils 1 liter of water in 4 minutes.
• Kindles in 2 minutes
• Burns twigs, sticks, underbrush, pine cones, pellets, rice husks
• Folds for easy packing
• 7.5” Tall X 4.75” Diameter
• Weighs 1lb 10oz
The BioLite website has a video of the camp stove in action.