Add your voice to our December Thunderclap for the new Rainwater Book
WaterPod Rocket Stove
The M2-B2 Rocket Stove promotes sustainability through demonstration and education while on the WaterPod in New York City. The stove is designed to provide a reliable and sustainable means of cooking by minimizing fuel use and optimizing efficiency.
The WaterPod Project Plan
The WaterPod is a project being put together by a group of artists and engineers. This project is going to take place in New York City, in which a group of artists are going to live on a barge for six months traveling down the Hudson River promoting sustainability. The WaterPod will stop off in the five boroughs of New York and allow the public to tour the barge. The WaterPod has worked with the Engineering 215 - Intro to Design class at Humboldt State University to create sustainable projects for the WaterPod. Team Mel Brooks was assigned the task of creating an efficient means of cooking that can be utilized for the duration of the project. Team Mel Brooks created a rocket stove, which will optimize biomass as a fuel source to cook for The WaterPod.
Problem Statement and Criteria
Team Mel Brooks objective in this project was to build an efficient cooking stove, using minimal materials that will optimize biomass to create a stove which can boil water. During the design process of this stove, we came up with a set of criteria to assist us in our design process. The following are some of the criteria that we came up with as a group. The WaterPod also assigned us a set of criteria which we incorporated into our own criteria for the project.
- Functionality- The rocket stove must be functional and able to cook for 6-11 people while on the barge.
- Ease of Use- The rocket stove must be easy to use so that the group living on The WaterPod can easily cook meals for themselves
- Safety- The rocket stove must be safe since people are going to be visiting the barge
- Shippability- The rocket stove must be able to be shipped from Arcata to New York
- Maintenance- The rocket stove should be easy to maintain and clean so that the WaterPod does not have to put too much time into the maintenance
- Efficiency- The rocket stove should require a minimal amount of fuel source to cook with
- Durability- The rocket stove must be able to last the duration of The WaterPod project
Description of Final Project
The final rocket stove design was chosen because it is durable, and required minimal materials. Since The WaterPod is an art project we wanted the aesthetics of the project to look nice. At first we decided upon a rocket stove that actually looks like a rocket so that it fit in with the art theme of the barge. Considering the fact that we are not artists we decided to continue with simplicity in mind. In the end we ended up with a rocket stove that is functioning and also pleasing to the eye.
There were many parts involved in this project in which Team Mel Brooks either had to find, purchase or create. The main structure of the rocket stove is a 16 gallon oil drum, which we found at a local scrap yard. The oil drum houses all of the components needed for the rocket stove. Located inside the drum is a combustion chamber, vermiculite, a pot skirt, and the actual cooking pot.
The combustion chamber is made up of fire bricks, mortared together in an "L" shape. Inside the combustion chamber is a fuel shelf which is what holds the fuel source. Around the combustion chamber is vermiculite which acts as an insulator for the stove. The pot skirt is a modified acetone can, which is what the cooking pot sits in. The pot skirt controls how the heat circulates around the cooking pot.
|Item||Our Cost||Potential Cost|
|16 Gallon Oil Drum||Free||$5|
|Aluminum Sheet Metal||$18.35||$18.35|
|Adjustable Aluminum Elbow (chimney)||$3.89||$3.89|
|Nuts and Washers||$3.39||$3.39|
|All Thread Rods||$11.77||$11.77|
Discussion and Next Steps
There are a few next steps that can be taken with this rocket stove project. For one, it would probably be best to extend the chimney of the stove, so that the exhaust does not come right out into the user's face. Simple extensions to the chimney can be added to the already existent elbow, so that the user does not inhale any smoke. One item that is eventually going to need to be replaced will be the fuel shelf. We used aluminum sheet metal for the fuel shelf that we built, but after extended use it may begin to bend which could cause the fuel shelf not to work.
In the news
- Brooklyn Eagle July 2009 - "The group then makes coffee with a “rocket stove” made for the Waterpod Project by students in California, which is a steel drum in which scraps are burned."
- NY Times August 2009 - "During my first visit, in July, when the barge was docked at Governor’s Island, running water was scarce – washing dishes and hands involved slow and laborious pumping from a big bucket – and meals, cooked in a single cast-iron pan over an experimental, fire-fed “rocket stove” designed by engineers at Humboldt University, could take a long time."
- Discovery News September 2009 - Cooking with the WaterPod rocket stove: "If rising ocean levels force us to figure out how to float, it might not be an entirely bad thing. Especially if the food tastes like this." Check out the video as well.
Barnes, Douglas F. Openshaw, Keith, Smith Kirk R. van der Plas, Robert. (1994). “What Makes People Cook with Improved Biomass Stoves?” World Bank Technical Paper. 1-39.
Scott, Peter (2005). “Rocket Stove Design Guide.” <http://www.repp.org/discussion groups/resources/stoves/Still/AprovechoPlans/Rocket%> (Feb. 25, 2009).
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2005). “The Dr. Winiarski Rocket Stove.” < http://web.mit.edu/ats/Documents/lesotho%20refresher%20oct%2005.ppt> (Feb. 25, 2009).