X PRIZE Cookstove Initiative
About 70% of Indian households — more than 160 million households, comprising about 770 million
people — are said to depend on simple but highly polluting cookstoves that burn solid fuel, mainly
wood or coal.
It also is estimated that about half a million people — primarily women and children — die each
year in India from the resulting indoor air pollution.
This makes the need for cleaner cookstoves urgent in India and suggests an enormous market for efficient
The X PRIZE Foundation, the Government of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Indian
Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD)have formed a partnership to create a global competition to develop and
deploy clean and efficient cookstove technologies.
The cookstoves competition is part of the X PRIZE Foundation’s Education & Global Development Group
which tackles major challenges in areas such as learning, hunger, health and water. Naveen Jain is the
co-Chair of the Group.
The overall goal of the X PRIZE Foundation is to address the grand challenges of our time through incentivized
innovation. By designing ground-breaking competitions with significant, multi-million dollar prize purses, X
PRIZE spurs collaboration among the world’s most brilliant minds to tackle the most pressing issues and
create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.
The cookstoves competition is also an integral part of the National Biomass Cookstoves Initiative of the MNRE.
That initiative aims to develop the next-generation of clean cookstoves to be used not only in India but in
other developing countries where people suffer from health problems related to biomass use in household
cooking. And because cleaner cookstoves reduce the greenhouse pollutants that result from incomplete
combustion, the Initiative and the prize competition could have a significant impact on global climate