Smoke inhalation causes more than 5,000 premature deaths every day, according to the World Health Organization. However, a new Indiegogo crowdsource fundraiser, from the founders of a Montreal-based firm called Novotera, is hoping to drastically change that statistic. They’re seeking to distribute 1,000 of their new PlanetStove hybrid-biochar cooking stoves to remote villages in China, Thailand and Indonesia this fall.

According to the Indiegogo fundraising page, more than 2 billion people still cook indoors over wood-burning fires. These inefficient wood fires contribute to deforestation, climate change and the aforementioned premature deaths.

But how can the PlanetStove help?

The creators of this stove, Dylan Maxwell and Olivier Kolmel, say that the PlanetStove can help both people and the environment in the following ways:

  1. Reduce indoor cooking smoke to a minimum.
  2. Mitigate airborne soot, which is responsible for 5-10 percent of man-made global warming.
  3. Reduce deforestation by increasing stove efficiency; villages reported using roughly 1/3 less wood than with traditional stoves.
  4. Sequester carbon (in the form of biochar) within the soil.
  5. Improve the soil structure and drought resistance.
  6. Improve the financial situation and living conditions of rural populations.

How does the PlanetStove work?

It is a TLUD stove, which stands for “Top-Liti Updraft.” Basically, you light kindling on top of a vertical tube full of densely packed wood. That vertical tube is nested inside a larger vertical tube. The fire on the top heats the wood and resulting hydrogen and carbon monoxide rise toward the top where they meet with oxygenated air drawn through the space between the tubes.

The stove essentially gasifies the wood. The resulting charcoal can then be returned to the earth in the form of biochar — which still contains at least 50 percent of the carbon that was in the original wood.

How can you help?

At the time of this writing, the PlanetStove Indiegogo project has received $4,053 worth of the $25,000 it needs to fund the campaign, with 34 days left remaining.

The lowest level of contribution is $25 and will basically subsidize the cost of a PlanetStove for a family in the developing world. You’ll get a photo of the family that received the stove, as well as a follow up with that family after a year of using the stove. Obviously, other contribution levels are available, so hit up the PlanetStove fundraising page and see if it strikes a chord with your passions.

Main image credit: Novotera