Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Kurtis G. Paterson


This report provides an analysis of the thermal performance and emissions characteristics of improved biomass stoves constructed using earthen materials. Commonly referred to as mud stoves, this type of improved stove incorporates high clay content soil with an organic binder in the construction of its combustion chamber and body. When large quantities of the mud material are used to construct the stove body, the stove does not offer significant improvements in fuel economy or air quality relative to traditional open fire cooking. This is partly because a significant amount of heat is absorbed by the mass of the stove reducing combustion efficiency and heat transfer to the cook pot.

An analysis of the thermal and mechanical properties of stove materials was also performed. A material mixture containing a one‐to‐one ratio by volume of high content clay soil and straw was found to have thermal properties comparable to fired ceramics used in more advanced improved stove designs.

Feedback from mud stove users in Mauritania and Mali, West Africa was also collected during implementation. Suggestions for stove design improvements were developed based on this information and the data collected in the performance, emissions, and material properties analysis. Design suggestions include reducing stove height to accommodate user cooking preferences and limiting overall stove mass to reduce heat loss to the stove body.