Improved solid biofuel stoves

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Revision as of 04:53, 19 March 2007 by Chriswaterguy (talk | Contributions) (health, key design features, names, refs)
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This page refers to stoves using a fuel, usually solid. For solar versions, see Category:Solar cooking

Cook stove is a general term for stoves used in developing countries, often of a very simple designs.

Efforts have been made in recent years to design and promote more efficient stoves. These are known by various names: improved cook stoves', improved stoves, improved cookstoves, improved cook stoves, smokeless stoves and wood conserving stoves. that don't fill the home with harmful smoke (through more efficient burning to reduce smoke, and a chimney or venting to remove that smoke), and which use less fuel. Several designs have been developed.

Health impact

Indoor smoke is an extremely serious public health problem. In high-mortality developing countries, indoor smoke is the most lethal killer after malnutrition, unsafe sex and lack of safe water and sanitation.[1]

Key design features

Some or all of these design features help make a stove more efficient and lower in health impact:

  • Chimney or vent (to remove smoke to outdoors, and improve airflow through the fire.
  • Controllable inflow of air - for example an adjustable door with little or no other intake.[verification needed]
  • Use of a material with good reflective and/or insulating properties, for the inside of the stove - usually ceramic.
  • Gasification - mixing the flue (exhaust gas) with a small amount of air, to allow the last remaining hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide to burn without a flame. This requires the
  • Use of the flue gas for space heating (in cold climates) and/or water heating. While this is not a typical feature, it is certainly possible. If so, care should be taken that the system does not leak flue gas into the living space - it may be necessary to lose some efficiency for the sake of health and safety.

    Ongoing research and development

    Groups including the Kobus Venter's Vuthisa Technologies[2] and EWB San Francisco Professionals Chapter[3] are doing research into optimizing such stoves, including using briquettes made from waste biomass (e.g. agricultural waste) with a simple [[briquette press].

    The fuel used can have a great impact on the smoke produced, as well as affecting the environmental impact. CharcoalDEPRECATED TEMPLATE - PLEASE USE {{W}} INSTEAD. is much cleaner burning than wood or dung, but is usually made from wood.

    Amy SmithDEPRECATED TEMPLATE - PLEASE USE {{W}} INSTEAD. has done work on producing charcoal from other forms of biomass. To make the biomass stick together, a binder is used. (Another method of making briquettes more cohesive is to leave the biomass in water for a couple of days to decompose slightly.) The choice of biomass depends on what is widely available, but includes bagasseDEPRECATED TEMPLATE - PLEASE USE {{W}} INSTEAD. (sugar cane waste) bound with a paste of cassavaDEPRECATED TEMPLATE - PLEASE USE {{W}} INSTEAD. root (also called manioc or tapioca); and wheat or rice straw bound with a small amount of dung, in areas where pure dung is normally burnt.[4]

    Footnotes and references

    1. AIDG blog; Amy Smith makes a similar but stronger claim in her [TED talk]. Please insert clear figures if you know them; what is clear is that this is an extremely serious public health problem.
    2. Vuthisa Technologies is a small company in Pietermaritsburg, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa, and Kobus Venter discussed (or discusses) the development of the design on the Biomass cooking stoves lists.please expand
    3. EWB-SFP Appropriate Technology Design Team's blog, with a strong focus on improved stoves. See also Darfur Cookstoves - Updates May-December 2006
    4. MIT's Amy Smith on third-world engineering: TEDTalks - Video on YouTube.

    See also