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Dazin: Saving Lives by Eliminating Deadly Cooking Smoke

BhutanTsirang, Bhutan
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Dazin manufactures and distributes both fuel + cookstove to rural households in Bhutan, households that rely on rudimentary cookstoves and open fires are exposed to deadly smoke, which is solved with our affordable fuel cookies and smokeless stoves combined solution.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

open fire cooking can be seen only in Museums?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Globally, about 3 billion people cook on open fires by burning biomass (wood, animal dung) and coal. Smoke from open cooking fires account for 4.3 million deaths every year globally, impacting mostly women and children and also contributing climate change. Bhutan has highest firewood consumption per person globally. Bhutan also has dependency on India for limited import (700 tons/month) of fossil fuel based Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Most obvious solution is to sell clean stoves as practiced by many other organisations. But the problem is How to sell and maintain clean stoves to people earning less than $2/day? Dazin provides free Fuel Cookies and lease Smokeless Stoves combined solution to rural households in exchange of forestry wood waste. This collected wood waste is densified into fuel cookies in local factory. The efficiency of our combined solution allows us to produce fuel cookies in excess compared to the wood waste collected. These surplus fuel cookies are sold in cities to offset the free services provided in rural areas.


Ben & Jerry's Join Our Core Award, D-Prize California Award, CSE Civic Award for Best Society Project, Develop Prize, Entrepreneurship in Denmark Award
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A woman living in rural area provides upto 40% less forestry waste to us compared to burning openly in a fire. She gets back enough fuel cookies to meet her cooking requirements by trading it with the forestry waste at nearest Collection Point managed by local woman. She also gets smokeless gasifying stove on lease in which fuel cookies are used. The remaining surplus fuel cookies made from her contribution are sold to restaurants in nearby urban market at 50% lower price than LPG so that her urban counterpart can get cost-effective and reliable cooking fuel along with leased stoves. The fuel cookies revenues from cities offset the services provided in rural areas and generate profit for us to scale our operations in new areas.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have set-up a fuel production facility with the capacity to manufacture fuel for 9000 households. We have proven our inclusive business model of people participation by impacting more than 400 people in two villages. Rural households are providing forestry waste with 100% retention rate and eager to use fuel cookies and efficient smokeless stove for heating as well. Rural households improved there health by getting cleaner air, saved money on LPG, electricity and soaps (because our product is clean). Our fuel+stove system consumes 84% less wood waste compared to open fire and we have already saved 180 tons of carbon emissions. Our urban customers (4 restaurants) saved 50% on the fuel bills compared to imported fossil fuel based LPG and the demand for our fuel is increasing. We are working to demonstrate strong market share and scalability of the model in other cities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We aim to achieve self-sustainability in communities by building a cooking and heating energy infrastructure. Dazin has partnered with Social Forestry Divison (managing 550+ community forests) to reach 150,000 rural/urban households in Bhutan that use fuelwood by 2020. Dazin also focuses on continuous revenue stream by targeting restaurants using commercial LPG and schools, who are suffering from high cost and unreliable supply of fuel. After scaling throughout the country, Dazin will create 1100+ jobs and reduce per capita wood consumption by half in Bhutan.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Dazin generates most of its revenue by selling fuel cookies. The fuel production cost is $0.05/kg and fuel selling price to restaurants is $0.30/kg ($0.16/kg to schools), providing the average profit margin of 75% which pays off cost of stove within 4 months in rural areas and infrastructure investment within 2 years. Afterwards, Dazin will be able to self-finance the expansion of business due to fuel sales to diverse segments.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

First Energy (FE) sells gasifying cook-stoves and fuel pellets made from sugarcane waste in South India. Once FE’s success created a significant demand for sugarcane biomass, sugar mill associations raised the price of raw materials, resulting in the increase of fuel pellet prices. We learned the importance to diversify our raw material supply among hundreds of rural households and to create an impact model that directly reaches the poorest of the poor. FE relies on other NGO’s distribution network resulting in slow process compared to our simple collection points system in every village.

Founding Story

I have noticed the problem of open cooking fires in India during my travels in 2008-09. I started researching this sector since 2010 after leaving my job as a software engineer. Since then, I have worked closely with the founders of Inyenyeri, Rwanda and Emerging Cooking Solutions, Zambia on the same problem with different approaches. This work gave me different perspective and allowed me to innovate this sector. My experiments and determination for clean cooking gave confidence to found Dazin in Bhutan by using the combination of fuel cookies and gasifying stoves. The facts about Bhutan being one of the world’s highest woodfuel consumer per capita also triggered me to go to Bhutan.


I have 8+ years of diverse experience on similar projects in Asia and Africa and MSc in Environment Management from Denmark. I have won several awards for Dazin and invested my own money until pilot phase. Sangay Rinchen, Co-Founder has 10+ years of multi-disciplinary experience. He has worked locally with farmers, community forests and marketing agricultural products. We have strong multi-national & diverse team of 8 full-time people.
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