Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Kenneth M Bryden


This thesis examines the detailed energy system dynamics of an isolated rural agricultural village in West Africa. Every family lives on subsistence agriculture and there is no access to the electric grid. The study is based on a planning visit followed by three one-month studies in different seasons of a one-year period. Methods and findings are presented in three parts: (1) the overall dynamics of village energy supply and use for a one-year period, (2) the factors that influence fuel use for domestic cookstove applications, and (3) an assessment of the costs and benefits of various energy options for meeting domestic cooking needs. Wood and electricity account for 94% and less than 1% of village energy supply, respectively, yet both provide vital needs--cooked meals, hot water, warmth, clean water, lighting, and power for small electronics. The need for small-scale electricity is so great that the 21,000 disposable batteries purchased each year account for 65% of all domestic energy expenditures. Three-quarters of the annual village wood supply is burned within domestic cooking stoves. Multiple regression analysis was used to identify six factors that significantly impacted cooking energy use. These included the cookstove application, family size, total mass of wet and dry ingredients, mass of dry ingredients, use of burning embers as an igniter, and the number of fires used during a cooking event. Analysis indicated that cookstove type may affect fuel consumption but the effect was not statistically significant. Strong evidence was found of "stove stacking" in which improved stoves are used as additional cooking resources rather than a replacement for existing stoves. Sixty combinations of domestic cooking options were compared based on program cost and expected reduction in fuelwood use. Annualized capital costs ranged from zero to US$3,130 per year for reductions in wood use between 10.0% and 86.8% of the 234 metric tons of fuelwood used annually for cooking.


Copyright Owner

Nathan Gregory Johnson



Date Available


File Format


File Size

238 pages