by Paul S. Anderson, Thomas B. Reed, Paul W. Wever

Issue: 53

Journal section: General Article
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Received: Tue 10 of Aug., 2010


Every successful cookstove project must address the four essential components: fuels for the heat, combustion to obtain the heat, applications of the heat, and human factors such as costs, cooking preferences/traditions, and user-friendliness. Failure in any of these four will lead to failure in the project. With regard to applications (such as single-pot direct heat or plancha griddle tops or baking), these are mainly issues of stove structure with a focus on the transfer of heat to the pot, and the applications are defi ned locally and solved locally. The human factors are much more personal and cultural, have less to do with the actual physical stove, but often require the greatest efforts and investments of time and money. Many cookstove projects are outstanding in the components of applications and human factors.

In contrast, the issues of fuels and combustion are often simplified to be "making sticks of wood burn", especially in the most simple stoves. But when additional fuel types are considered, and when issues of complete combustion and emissions are considered, fuels and combustion become more technical, scientific, and challenging. Clearly, the success of the Rocket stoves is linked to its superior combustion of stick-wood, which in turn justifies the truly significant efforts for applications and the human factors. In the case of gasification, there are yet to be any main success stories that include applications and human factors. But concerning fuels and combustion for cookstoves, this article will show that "micro-gasification is a technology that works."

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