Providing Clean Fuel for the Developing World (2021-2022)

Indoor air pollution from burning solid fuels causes approximately four million premature deaths annually, making it the leading cause of death after high blood pressure and smoking. Cleaner fuel sources can improve health while preserving forests, improving local air quality and mitigating impacts on climate change.

Unfortunately, the adoption of electric and natural gas stoves has proven challenging due to issues related to stove and fuel cost, the lack of a robust supply chain, existing cultural practices and barriers to developing a geographically and culturally appropriate marketing and promotion plan, as well as gaining the trust and credibility of local leaders and institutions.

Since 2019, this team has taken on the challenges involved in developing, translating and promoting new fuel technologies for the developing world. In 2021-2022, team members researched current trends around biomass as a fuel source for cooking and investigated the generation, storage and combustion of hydrogen fuel to create an affordable and clean household fuel alternative. In 2021-2022, the team developed a scaled-up electrolyzer, achieved repeated compression-and-release cycles for storage and constructed a working hydrogen fuel stove. 

The next step for this multiyear team is to improve system efficiencies and components and analyze system costs, as well as field test and scale a new unified system in a village in India.


Summer 2021 – Spring 2022

Team Outputs

Pilot system for producing, storing and burning hydrogen

Hydrogen Fuel to Help the Planet (2022 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Hydrogen Generation, Storage and Stove Technology to Mitigate Indoor Air Pollution (poster by Andrew Liu, Sarah Macia and Jeremy Fertig, presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 13, 2022)

See earlier related team, Providing Clean Fuel for the Developing World (2020-2021)


Image: Interior of ultra-high pressure vessel with balloon attachment fitting, courtesy of 2019-2020 project team

Interior of ultra-high pressure vessel with balloon attachment fitting.

Team Leaders

  • Nico Hotz, Pratt School of Engineering-Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
  • Benjamin Wiley, Arts & Sciences-Chemistry

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Jeremy Fertig, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Andrew Liu, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Sarah Macia, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Marc Jeuland, Sanford School of Public Policy