Innovative cookstove idea wins $75,000 St Andrews Prize

Thursday 5 May 2011


An innovative cookstove, which provides improved air quality and a clean economic source of electricity inside the home, has won this year’s St Andrews Prize for the Environment. Solid biomass fires, used by almost half the global population are inefficient and amongst the most greenhouse intensive systems in the world per unit of energy delivered. Clean energy company BioLite has developed a cookstove that slashes emissions by up to 95 percent and also provides electricity for charging LED lights, mobile phones and other devices used in rural areas where open fires are prevalent.

At a ceremony at the University of St Andrews today, Jonathan den Hartog was presented with the winning prize of $75,000 (£45,470). Jonathan said: “I am delighted with this win. It will enable us to further develop our programme by funding capital costs, hardware and administration expenses.”

The St Andrews Prize is an environmental initiative by the University of St Andrews, which attracts scholars of international repute and carries out world-class teaching and research, and ConocoPhillips, one of the world’s largest integrated energy companies, with operations in more than 30 countries.

Sir Crispin Tickell, Chairman of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment Trustees, said: “The Prize is going from strength-to-strength. It is now in its thirteenth year and we are delighted that is has become so well established and continues to attract such a range of innovative projects from all over the world. We are looking for entrepreneurs on behalf of the environment – applicants able to champion original and innovative environmental ideas which are realistic and realisable and which take account of social and economic implications.”

This year’s runners-up, selected from 211 entries from 60 countries, were each presented with a cheque for $25,000. They were:

  • Project Meshanani to re-establish the ecological balance in the desertified area around the Amboseli National Park in Kenya provides a sustainable, habitable environment with a positive economic outlook for the local Masai community.
  • Coconut Oil, development of a hydraulic press doubling the amount of oil which can be extracted from coconuts and significantly increasing the incomes of the people of the Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, just north of Sumatra.

Full details on each of the finalists’ projects can be found at

Professor Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews said:

“For centuries this university has educated young people motivated by a desire to improve the world around them. Today, we are proud to be at the cutting-edge of the field of sustainability and environmental studies and to support, through the St Andrews Prize, the current generation of creative thinkers designing solutions to today’s problems.”

Paul Warwick, President, UK and Africa, ConocoPhillips said:

“Recognising innovative ideas that will help protect our environment and improve the lives of our fellow citizens through the St Andrews Prize for the Environment allows us to reward outstanding and environmentally conscious individuals and groups who help make the world a better place”.

Towards this goal, ConocoPhillips have today announced that next year’s St Andrews Prize for the Environment will increase in value from $75,000 to $100,000.

The Prize has attracted entries on topics as diverse as sustainable development in the Amazon and Central American rainforests, urban re-generation, recycling, health and water issues and renewable energy, since its launch in 1998.

See the full list of previous winners and details about the Prize trustees on

Issued by the University of St Andrews

Contact: Emma Shea, Communications Manager, on 01334 462 109 or email [email protected]

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