The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) on Wednesday announced a $1.5 million grant
to support the project under the agency’s “Science to Achieve Results
” (STAR) research program.
“There has been a technical renaissance in cookstove technology in recent years, but the adoption of these stoves is not where we would like it to be,” Bailis said. “Hopefully we'll be able to learn more about the conditions that will encourage people to incorporate these improved, robust technologies into their daily lives.”
The project will also include researchers from North Carolina State University, the Universities of Minnesota, Georgia, and British Colombia, and two non-governmental organizations in India.
For the study, researchers will distribute one of several different cooking alternatives — including cleaner wood-burning stoves, gas-powered stoves, and electric stoves — to households in eight communities across two Indian states. They are hoping to include 200 homes per community, in addition to 50 control sites.
To assess the potential success of different intervention options, some households will receive the stoves free of charge while others will be charged a small fee.
In addition, about half of the participating households will be allowed to try different models every few months. By allowing that flexibility, Bailis said, it might provide insights into whether participants are willing to be more experimental if they do not feel tied to a particular model of stove.
“For us, if we buy something at Target or on Amazon, we know there is no risk — or the only risk is that we’ll have to run it back or return it,” Bailis said. “We hope that by introducing this option for a switch-out that we’ll see greater adoption because people will be a little more open to risk-taking.”