ECS Pellet Stove

Can a pellet stove save lives?


How can we develop a low cost pellet stove that also has very low emissions? With the vision that “Cooking shouldn’t kill”, Emerging Cooking Solutions (ECS) wanted a solution that offered a healthy way of cooking in Africa. A cheap, good and environmentally-friendly energy consumption alternative to put an end to the use of charcoal for cooking.


We set out to understand the user and went to Zambia for interviews, observations and prototype tests in a local context. With a close collaboration between the combustion experts Zemission and ECS that manufactures and sells pellets and stoves, we aimed to try to solve two of the largest issues in today's pellets stoves, i.e. to develop a stove without an electric fan and that is cheap to manufacture.


A stove that is clean and can be produced with as little material as possible. Zstove is manufactured at a low production cost and is suitable for home use.

Zenit Design is one of the companies that made this possible. With its long and broad knowledge within the fields of design and engineering, Zenit Design has helped us develop a product that is ready for production.

Clean and cheap pellets stove - is that even an option?

ECS, with its base in both Lund, Sweden, and Lusaka, Zambia, has already sold thousands stoves together with their own fractured pellets. They had experienced the poor supply of pellets stoves and its impact on the environment and on human beings. The cheap ones did not burn well and were not clean. The stoves that burned well did so because they had an electric fan, but they became far too expensive for the average African household to buy without offering credit and instalment plans.

The big challenge for us was to create an efficient combustion process without a fan that was still cheap to manufacture and easy to sell.

Research and scientific methods for the best outcome

It's no coincidence that the stove works; there is a lot of research and scientific methods behind it.  Several tests and prototypes have been developed for the pellet stove, which has yielded such good results that scientists believed the measuring instruments were faulty when they tested Zstove – that’s how low the levels of toxic gases in the air were after burning pellets in the stove. The main reason for this fantastic clean stove is the combustion expertise from Zemission and our capability to turn their ideas into an affordable product.

We needed experts on combustion in order for the stove to burn cleanly, and designers to make a smart stove that's still cheap.

Developing the worlds cleaning burning low-cost stove

Designing the vision “Cooking shouldn’t kill” has meant developing a stove with natural draft that burns as well and cleanly as a stove with a fan. By producing a stove that burns with very low emissions, African households can both save money and cook without damaging their health or the environment.

Through carefully designed natural draft, the pellet stove burns as cleanly as a stove with a fan, if not more cleanly. Without a fan, we can skip expensive components and without a battery for a fan, the need for charging has been eliminated. Zstove can also be used indoors, as long as there is a door or window ajar so that air and oxygen can enter the room. With their stove, ECS wanted to do what they think others had missed – to solve the problem from the bottom up instead of just tweaking the solution.

Burning frustration led to Design S Award

Zenit Design won Design S – Swedish Design Awards in the category of Sustainable Development with the pellet stove Zstove 2018.

Per Löfberg expressed his gratitude on instagram when he received the award together with Johan Lundgren from Zenit Design:

The work begun out of burning frustration: The stoves suitable for our concept where either expensive, or not good enough.[...] Our win is a recognition of all the work behind the product, and by all of my colleagues in Zambia. I'm very grateful to Svensk Form, the Design S-jury and to all involved.

Motivation from the Jury

Based on the user's prerequisites, environmental goals, and regional production, has a micro-economy been developed. From pellet production of weeds, to a combustion technology that eliminates lethal carbon emissions. Functionally designed products for everything from housing to commercial kitchens.

Read more
Zstove part 1: Vision – cooking shouldn't kill

Zstove part 2: To design a vision

Zstove part 3: Product ready for production

No items found.
Want to know more?
Get in touch with:
Want to know more?
Get in touch with:
Back to our work