How Big is Small? Enough to not Breathe Oil! The Peruvian case of diesel-fuelled wick lamps for lighting

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How big is small? Enough to not breathe oil! The Peruvian case of diesel-fuelled wick lamps for lighting

Presenter: Angel Verástegui Gubler, (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit – GIZ Energising Development Peru)

Rapporteurs: Jonathan Lee and Carmen Iten


Health risks due to indoor air pollution (IAP) from inefficient domestic burning processes for cooking or lighting are not breaking news. The presence of high levels of sulfur dioxide in burnt wood emissions from traditional cookstoves; its remaining high levels in the air after two hours from turning off the source; and the fact that this gets even worse with an oil-fueled wick lamp that pollutes almost the same as a second traditional cookstove in the same room for at least one hour each day for 20% of the world´s population, maybe are. This paper shows first evidence from Peru´s rural context in the simultaneous lack of modern energy devices for lighting and cooking[1].

Main Issues Discussed

​​► Please see the presentation.

  • There has been much research into kerosene wick lamps, but diesel wick lamps are more widely used in Peru
    • PM 2.5, CO, and SO2 measured for cookstove burning only and cooking and lamps being used at the same time
    • Concentration of PM 2.5 are orders of magnitude higher than WHO recommendation. SO2 is higher than WHO level, and CO does not present a significant cost
    • Kerosene is forbidden in Peru because it is an ingredient of drugs.
  • Differences between houses in the Andean and in the Amazon region: Houses in the Amazon region are airy but in the Andean you want to keep the heat from the stoves. The test house was in a house in the Andean.
    • Usage of light varies with region. In the Andes, heat is desirable so a greater demand for conventional fuel than in the Amazon region. The type of fuel used and prices depends a lot on supply chains for other uses, such as diesel for logging.
  • A diesel wick lamp accounts for the pollution almost of a second cookstove. Double source of indoor air pollution (cooking stove and diesel lamp).
    • There is residual higher than WHO level PM 2.5 and SO2 exposure for 2 hours
    • People are worried about the diesel smell in their house from the lamp (in contrast to the smoke from the cooking stove).

Q & A

1. What needs to be changed in policy in Peru?

  • Engineering projects have a focus on large scale, technological thinking. Energy access needs to be viewed as a health and social issue like water instead of purely technologically and economically?

2. Were emissions measured or exposure?

  • Exposure was indeed being measured. It is important to distinguish between the two.

3. How does the residual exposure compare to the exposure before devices turned on?

  • Pollutants were measured for 30 min before, showed levels lower than after

4. How do other devices perform?

  • Only two diesel wick lamps were tested.

5. Are there other lamps that perform better or worse?


  1. How Big is Small? Enough to not Breathe Oil! The Peruvian case of diesel-fueled wick lamps for lighting. Angel Verástegui Gubler and Verónica Pilco Mamani