Too many cooks spoil the carbon footprint

From the American Chemical Society  it seems that newer is not always better. Even Yale environment360 bought into this idea. I should add that I’m all for reducing carbon soot, but in the zealous rush for solutions, sometimes too many cooks spoil the soup.

IndiaEnvirofit

Right: Primitive stoves and open fires pose serious health risks, particularly among women and children. Image: angelic_shrek/flickr. Left: Envirofit says its cook stove will cut smoke and carbon emissions by 80 percent. Image Envirofit

 

Some ‘improved cookstoves’ may emit more pollution than traditional mud cookstoves

The first real-world, head-to-head comparison of “improved cookstoves” (ICs) and traditional mud stoves has found that some ICs may at times emit more of the worrisome “black carbon,” or soot, particles that are linked to serious health and environmental concerns than traditional mud stoves or open-cook fires. The report, which raises concerns about the leading hope as a clean cooking technology in the developing world, appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Abhishek Kar, Hafeez Rehman, Jennifer Burney and colleagues explain that hundreds of millions of people in developing countries in South Asia, Africa and South America are exposed to soot from mud stoves and 3-stone fires used for cooking, heating and light. The particles can be inhaled deeply into the lungs and have been linked to health problems similar to those associated with cigarette smoking. In addition, black soot released into the atmosphere is a major factor in global warming. Aid agencies and governments have been seeking replacements for traditional cookstoves and fires to remedy those problems, with ICs as one of the leading hopes. Until now, however, there have been little real-world data on the actual performance of ICs — which have features like enhanced air flow and a battery-powered fan to burn wood and other fuel more cleanly.

The researchers measured black carbon emissions from five IC models and traditional mud stoves. They did the test in real homes as part of Project Surya, which quantifies the impacts of cleaner cooking technologies in a village in India. Forced draft stoves burned cleaner than any other IC. However, black carbon concentrations from all ICs varied significantly, even for the same stove from one day to the next. Surprisingly, some natural draft stoves occasionally emitted more black carbon than the traditional mud cookstove.

###

The researchers acknowledge funding from private donors, the National Science Foundation, the Swedish International Development Agency, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Vetlesen Foundation and the Alderson Foundation.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

==============================================================

“Real-time Assessment of Black Carbon Pollution in Indian Households Due to Traditional and Improved Biomass Cookstoves” Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012, 46 (5), pp 2993–3000. DOI: 10.1021/es203388g

Abstract

Use of improved (biomass) cookstoves (ICs) has been widely proposed as a Black Carbon (BC) mitigation measure with significant climate and health benefits. ICs encompass a range of technologies, including natural draft (ND) stoves, which feature structural modifications to enhance air flow, and forced draft (FD) stoves, which additionally employ an external fan to force air into the combustion chamber. We present here, under Project Surya, the first real-time in situ Black Carbon (BC) concentration measurements from five commercial ICs and a traditional (mud) cookstove for comparison.

These experiments reveal four significant findings about the tested stoves. First, FD stoves emerge as the superior IC technology, reducing plume zone BC concentration by a factor of 4 (compared to 1.5 for ND). Indoor cooking-time BC concentrations, which varied from 50 to 1000 μg m–3 for the traditional mud cookstove, were reduced to 5–100 μg m–3 by the top-performing FD stove. Second, BC reductions from IC models in the same technology category vary significantly: for example, some ND models occasionally emit more BC than a traditional cookstove. Within the ND class, only microgasification stoves were effective in reducing BC.

Third, BC concentration varies significantly for repeated cooking cycles with same stove (standard deviation up to 50% of mean concentration) even in a standardized setup, highlighting inherent uncertainties in cookstove performance. Fourth, use of mixed fuel (reflective of local practices) increases plume zone BC concentration (compared to hardwood) by a factor of 2 to 3 across ICs.

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Greg, San Diego, CA

Just another example of the “enviros” jumping in with a “solution” without truly testing the solution. Someone is profiting from the IC, whether it works or not!

Hugo Van Dofrenzeim

Seems very strange that they wouldn’t instead note efficiency in terms of fuel use. Fragile ecosystems are being destroyed by this, and use of charcol. If these can for example boil a given amount of water while using less wood or charcol, that would seem to justify their use. BC is not the issue.

Bloke down the pub

Now if only there was a technology somewhere that allowed you to burn fuel efficiently at a central location and convert it into clean electricity, that way you could eliminate soot in the home altogether. Oh well, some day maybe.

Luther Wu

From the article: “Two billion people, one-third of the people on Earth, are caught in a time warp, with no access to modern energy.” says Lakshman Guruswami
______________________________
And so, the modern “Green” dilemma and the world’s choice.
Follow the edicts of the “concerned” and condemn your own population; not a difficult choice for the less developed nations to make.
All that’s left for them to do is to try to pick the pockets of the developed world.

John from CA

Right: Primitive stoves and open fires pose serious health risks, particularly among women and children. Image: angelic_shrek/flickr. Left: Envirofit says its cook stove will cut smoke and carbon emissions by 80 percent.
“Your other right” it s/b reversed, the eco thing is on the “Right”

Kaboom

I’d assume a centralized communal cooking area in villages with rocket stoves would be both the most efficient, lowest on soot and please lefty sensibilities at the same time.

John from CA

Willis needs to weigh in on this one but, if memory serves, the point of the eco-friendly cook stove is increased efficiency. If the fuel is efficiently burned there would be decreased consumption of limited resources and decreased emissions.
The health benefit was from indoor usage not outdoor usage.

kbray in california

I see dead batteries….
“Aid agencies and governments have been seeking replacements for traditional cookstoves and fires… with ICs as one of the leading hopes… which have features like enhanced air flow and a battery-powered fan to burn wood and other fuel more cleanly.”
Battery-powered fans… ??? for poor people?. Who came up with that one? Batteries are expensive, short lived, a hassle, can explode if heated, and have a chemical waste issue. Someone has not thought this through thoroughly… Why not a battery powered electric hot plate then… that should be equally successful for them and “greener” too. sarc.

Andrew30

The Enviros should go to Trivandrum during Pongala and set these people straight.

Rice, coconut and jaggery are brought by women devotees along with round earthen pots for cooking. Women participating in the Pongala squat on roads, bylanes, footpaths and shop fronts in a radius of several kilometres around the temple to cook the mixture of rice, jaggery and coconut in earthen pots that is offered to the goddess seeking divine blessings.
The annual Pongala festival of Attukal Bhagavathi temple, has been entered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest congregation of women in the world. The festival draws over 2.5 million women on a single day in March to perform the Pongala ritual, and has been a center of attraction for devotees as well as tourists who visit Trivandrum during this season

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pongala
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noCZ4Gz3wxM
You have to see it to believe it. 2.5 million three-brick fires all over the roads, sidewalk, and parks in a city with a normal population of 750,000.

devijvers

These are rocket stoves:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_stove
It is true they burn much cleaner.

The people in those photographs above can’t afford ICs, never mind the ones that require batteries, because they can’t afford batteries either. What they need is electricity, pumped out from nice big generation plants.
Pointman

Luther Wu

Kaboom says:
April 9, 2012 at 9:38 am
I’d assume a centralized communal cooking area in villages with rocket stoves would be both the most efficient, lowest on soot and please lefty sensibilities at the same time.
__________________________
Communal cooking? Come on!
You live in a neighborhood, right?
You like the idea- you try it.

Luther Wu

@Kaboom- I phrased that last post incorrectly- I know that you were poking at the Lefties and their view of things- no intent to poke fun at you.

kbray in california

PS:
…Now a hand cranked squirrel cage blower…
to get the coals going… would fit this task.
But it still makes CO2…
and I thought the whole purpose was to stop additional CO2.!?
Apparently, if we don’t stop the CO2… according to Jim Hansen…. we are going to die.
Nuclear powered electric hot plate cookers will meet the specified parameters.
…and then we can all live in peace and harmony with perfect weather, just as mankind did before he mastered that evil destroyer of eden…..”FIRE.!”

It seems to me that we learned in the 1950s backyard incinerator debacle in Los Angeles County that the “black carbon” in the air was also known as “activated charcoal” that trapped the crap from the Fontana steel mills and the El Segundo Butadiene plants (for examples–there were a lot of others) and carried it to the ground instead of poisoning us.
Am I not remembering correctly?

kbray in california

Pointman says:
April 9, 2012 at 10:12 am
Amen to that.

kbray in california

We also need to ban candles. Why? CO2 of course.!
Flickering electric candles with mercury are OK, though.
Try forcing that one on billions of dogmatic devotees…
In wishing Peace and Love to the planet…
I’m going to go light a candle…
…and put more logs in the wood stove…
…and fire up the bar-bee-Q for lunch….
…being a “live food” Vegan would be so much easier, sigh…

Hugo says: Fragile ecosystems are being destroyed by this [cooking with wood or charcoal]
Hugo and others may be interested to know that hominids have been cooking with wood or charcoal for at least one million years and likely much longer than that.
http://westinstenv.org/sosf/2012/04/07/the-jaramillo-subchron-and-the-domestication-of-fire/
It might possibly be that “ecosystems” are not all that fragile, given that people have been burning them for one heck of a long long time.

As Marie Algorette might say:
“Let them eat cake”

Steve from Rockwood

Luther Wu says:
April 9, 2012 at 10:18 am
Kaboom says:
April 9, 2012 at 9:38 am
I’d assume a centralized communal cooking area in villages with rocket stoves would be both the most efficient, lowest on soot and please lefty sensibilities at the same time.
__________________________
Communal cooking? Come on!
You live in a neighborhood, right?
You like the idea- you try it.
——————————————–
I think Luther under estimates the competition for food.

polistra

Black soot a major contributor to global warming? Doesn’t soot cool the surface?
I guess that would make it a major negative contributor to warming, which is the same as a positive contributor by Orwellian math. (Rectified math, that is….)

gringojay

“Peko Pe” (Ugandan “problem no”) top lit up draft pyrolitic gasifier cookstove Paal Wendelbo burns any dry biomass; the “concentrator disk” allows combustible gases and intake of secondary air to mix permitting larger cooking area than fan forced air stoves.
Lets locals burn everything from cashew shells, maize cobs, cow dung, straw, twig chips , etc. & no need for charcoal or wood if locally scarce.

cmarrou

One of the biggest sources of pollution in the Mexico City area is propane from stoves with badly-fitted connectors. No matter what it is, it can be a problem if there’s enough of it and humans can get their hands on it.

Communal cooking. Like Sardi’s.

thelastdemocrat

solar oven
http://solarovens.net/
a one-time cost. can be used, with education, to purify water to potability.
ideally, an acceptable, well-performing model would be produced ‘locally,’ rather than coming from China.
A lot of the locales that depend on burning wood have what it takes to adapt to this style of cooking: people, time, and a diet that is not overly dependent on foods like seafood and mayo that spoil if the heat is not quite hot enough.
-someone noted that humans have been burning wood as a heat and cooking source for eons. Yes. We have also denuded great portions of land.

Anyone who has ever actually cooked with an open fire with wood knows what to do to minimize smoke. Also, some people WANT smoke due to its ability to drive bugs off.
I wonder if any of the people involved with this have ever gone camping…..

Until now, however, there have been little real-world data on the actual performance of ICs — which have features like enhanced air flow and a battery-powered fan to burn wood and other fuel more cleanly.
Use the batteries from all those unsold Chebby Volts. Since they self-combust, there’ll be no need to use charcoal or any other free-range fuel…

Eric Webb

As far as I can tell, either they eat from their unsanitary old cooking wear, or they use the much more sanitary cooking wear that emits soot, which may be causing “global warming”. Hmm… I’d go with sanitary cooking wear.

“I wonder if any of the people involved with this have ever gone camping…..”
Or cooked so much as a cup of tea.

Solar ovens are really neat. If the sun is shining, you don’t have any shelter and can afford one.
Nor so much during the monsoon.

David in Georgia

Wow, I”m a little surprised at the variety of comments here. Several people have chimed in about the batteries. Those little fans can be driven by a very small amount of electricity, and that could easily be supplied by a couple of AA rechargable batteries. A charge might last a week or two, and a simple exchange system with newly charged batteries from a solar panel or two (or any other source of electricity) could provide easy money for a local entrepreneur.
These people are poor, but they are not completely without resources. They do have access to cheap electric devices. A forced air cooker is by far the most efficient way to burn wood scraps. While natural updraft gasifiers also work, they are not as quick or as clean as a forced air stove.
If I were in an area where I might have to scrounge for sticks and twigs to burn to cook my supper, I’d damn sure want to use a fan to blow on the burning coals. I might choose to make my own adobe cooker, but I’d give it some help. If I had a wife who wanted a nice, clean stove to impress the neighbors…
The black soot issue is less important in my mind than reducing the amount of resources the locals are required to obtain every day to cook with. Still, in many areas of the world, lung disease from breathing in smoke and soot from the cooking fires is a major problem. I’ve seen pictures of their homes, with scorch marks in one corner where they build an open fire for cooking. It’s no wonder that they have breathing problems. The science of chimneys has been worked out for centuries. With a proper chimney, a “mud stove” is not a danger to the occupants of the room. We need to spread knowledge more than anything. Knowledge of how to make functioning chimneys, wood-stoves that heat the home without smoking it out, etc.
Giving them gadgets, no matter how nice, isn’t going to make their lives better if they don’t understand why the gadgets work – why they are needed.

It is going to take many, many years of very hard work with large amounts of monetary investment before the “three-brick, open-fire” method of cooking hot meals is anywhere near being changed for the great proportion of humanity who regularly prepare food in this way.
I grew up on a farm near Luanshya, a dying copper mining town in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province; the Roan Antelope Mine is now Chinese-owned and employs few Zambians. http://www.zambia-travel-guide.com/bradt_guide.asp?bradt=405
Unemployment is rife with most residents of Luanshya being out of work but living in houses which have an electricity supply from the Kariba Gorge project on the Zambezi River. Their only problem is that they cannot afford to pay for the power so they cook over open fires in the back yard. Millions more Zambians live very far away from any electricity supply and all rely on open fires for cooking. Even urban residents consider two hours a day of water supply to be a bonus, just don’t try drinking it! Everone else goes to a stream or river for their water supplies.
Few, if any, of the many Zambians I used to know (most have succumbed to the many endemic diseases) could afford anything like a ‘rocket stove’ or other contraption. They are simply too poor.
Zambia’s economic prospects might be looking up but the <'wapamwamba' (the wealthy elite) in Government ensure that little or nothing in the way if benefits ever gets down to the poorer sections of the nation. It might be of interest to the ‘greenies’ of the more developed parts of the world that this reliance on wood and charcoal for cooking in Zambia has had an effect on the local climate. It rains less now. There’s not vast areas of mature miombo forest pumping large quantities of water into the air any longer. The 70′ tall trees have all gone from most of the entire Province.

temp

“The particles can be inhaled deeply into the lungs and have been linked to health problems similar to those associated with cigarette smoking.”
Love this line… it should read the reverse…. smoking all smoking results in inhaling soot which leads to all the same problems. They can’t seem to grasp the reality that cigarette smoke isn’t much different from most other types of smoke natural or “unnatural”.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

From Luther Wu on April 9, 2012 at 10:18 am:

Communal cooking? Come on!
You live in a neighborhood, right?
You like the idea- you try it.

Ah yes, memories of the campus dorms, with a “communal” cooking area with some cabinets, a sink, a small refrigerator, and a four-burner cooktop. I remember seeing someone actually using a burner, once. And the refrigerator? Seemed to be where fungus went to die from starvation.

I see the whole ImprovedCooker issue as nothing more than a bandaid on a much bigger issue, and a symptom of people not being able to see the real problems at hand. Pointman’s got half way there:

The people in those photographs above can’t afford ICs, never mind the ones that require batteries, because they can’t afford batteries either. What they need is electricity, pumped out from nice big generation plants.

I’ll complete the analysis for him.
The real problem lurking behind the cook fire problem is lack of developement and lack of electrification to these areas of the world. Hook up these [presently] poor people to a reliable electrical grid – even if it happens to be powered by local ‘evil coal’ as a one generation expedient – and they will start to be able to address a whole array of other issues that piddly little biomass fueled cookers will NEVER be able to address: poverty, lack of education, lack of healthcare, lack of adequate housing, lack of, lack of, lack of… All of these lacks can all be addressed by abundance of reliable and affordable electrical power, without that none of them can be addressed.
Access to affordable electricity allows people to start to solve their own problems – like being poor. Hans Rosling, a Professor of International Health at the Karolinska Institute, has a wonderful talk at TED that illustrates an intelligent way to think about this issue and much more entertaining than me.
TED: Hans Rosling and the magic washing machine: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/hans_rosling_and_the_magic_washing_machine.html
“Thank you steel mill! Thank you industrialization! Thank you power station! Thank you chemical processing industry that gave us time to read books!”
Of course certain types will never go for this idea, mostly in the fully industrialized West and many from Sweden ironically, this is because to allow the undeveloped poor to be allowed access to the electricity that will liberate them enough to be able to say no to what the well meaning, well intentioned elite in the West have in mind for them – which seems to yet anther kind of social experiment at someone else’s expense.
Make no doubt about it the ImprovedCooker, at it’s heart, is really nothing more than an instrument of social control sprung from the subconscious, and lack of foresight of a group of people who ought to know better as a means to keep people in the undeveloped world, undeveloped, and I do mean that in the very human sense that we mean that in the developed world: culturally creative, fully educated, politically empowered, and fully able to choose their own destinies.
Oh, and by the way, the market will sort out which sort of IC is the best bandaid to use for the moment, that is if the bad designs are allowed to fail properly and don’t become some kind of a UN mandate.
W^3

David in Georgia: Walk in there from the airport you land in, carry what you can in your pants pockets and carry in your little stove.
Live there a year, burning cattle dung or what every your neighbors use. Buy new batters as you see the need (but don’t “acquire” any more money than your neighbors do).
Walk back out in a year and tell us about it.
In the mean time don’t tell us how easy it is.

David in Georgia says:
April 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm
Wow, I”m a little surprised at the variety of comments here. Several people have chimed in about the batteries. Those little fans can be driven by a very small amount of electricity, and that could easily be supplied by a couple of AA rechargable batteries. A charge might last a week or two, and a simple exchange system with newly charged batteries from a solar panel or two (or any other source of electricity) could provide easy money for a local entrepreneur.
These people are poor, but they are not completely without resources. They do have access to cheap electric devices. A forced air cooker is by far the most efficient way to burn wood scraps.

I suggest you do a test to confirm your assumption that the batteries will last that long.
I suspect based on my experience that the operational lifetime for a small fan on battery power with a couple AA batteries would be measured in minutes rather than hours of useful power.
I wonder if the guys who designed these magic stoves realize that humans have been using hand operated bellows to increase heat in fires for a few thousand years. Instead of trying to get these poor folks to use their magic stove, maybe a $2.00 kit of materials to build a bellows (small piece of canvas and some tacks), would be a better investment.
Larry

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

From David in Georgia on April 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm:


These people are poor, but they are not completely without resources. They do have access to cheap electric devices. A forced air cooker is by far the most efficient way to burn wood scraps. While natural updraft gasifiers also work, they are not as quick or as clean as a forced air stove.
If I were in an area where I might have to scrounge for sticks and twigs to burn to cook my supper, I’d damn sure want to use a fan to blow on the burning coals. I might choose to make my own adobe cooker, but I’d give it some help. If I had a wife who wanted a nice, clean stove to impress the neighbors…

Have our modern monkey brains already forgotten about the ancient creation known as bellows? If they wanted forced air combustion then they could easily have it, without batteries or little electric fans. That they have apparently decided not to use easily-obtainable forced air combustion for cooking should be indicative of something, and that would not be “the ignorance of primitives”.
For something to think about, consider the cookware. Forced air combustion yields higher temperatures, thus it was considered necessary for metalworking. When using thin metal cookware, the heat is transferred quickly to the contents. But when using pottery, the heat is transferred more slowly. So burning fuel faster with higher temperature yields is wasteful, as the heat doesn’t penetrate faster. Slow steady heating, and gentle enough to avoid cracking and breaking, is what’s needed with traditional pottery cookware.
And while we have gotten used to readily-available inexpensive metal cookware, such are relatively recent, with scarcity of metal being the norm for societies both ancient and for some current ones as well. The heavy cast iron cookware of our grandparents and a bit earlier was quite an innovation. Cast iron, in case you haven’t had the experience of using it, does crack, it doesn’t like being heated quickly. So you wouldn’t want to use high-heat forced air combustion with it either.

On universal electriication and poverty…
REA and TVA solved all the problems in Mississippi, didn’t they?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

@ Larry Ledwick (hotrod ) on April 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm:
Credit where it’s due, you mentioned bellows first. Should have refreshed before posting.

SteveSadlov

Everywhere besides, oddly, Green Mecca Europe, there seems to be a war on wood fuel. Wood fuel is at least carbon neutral if not slightly carbon fixing (e.g. given the less than 100% combustion).

From wikipedia,
In its 2007 report, the IPCC estimated for the first time the direct radiative forcing of black carbon from fossil fuel emissions at + 0.2 W/m2, and the radiative forcing of black carbon through its effect on the surface albedo of snow and ice at an additional + 0.1 W/m2.[87] More recent studies and public testimony by many of the same scientists cited in the IPCC’s report estimate that emissions from black carbon are the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide emissions, and that reducing these emissions may be the fastest strategy for slowing climate change.
While black carbon certainly warms the troposphere. It equally certainly cools the climate. This is because BC acts like a GHG in the other direction, scattering incoming solar radiation and returning some proportion out to space that would have otherwise reached the surface.
This picture is complicated by the hight of the BC in the atmosphere and, effects of other aerosols and effects on the hydrological cycle, but is supported by empirical studies of surface temperatures. How the IPCC could get this wrong baffles me.
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n1/full/ngeo.2007.62.html

Forced air woodstoves are good. You don’t need batteries. Just a 5v case fan and a few secondhand peltier cpu coolers.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott, SeTAR Centre, Univ of Johannesburg

I have to come out of woodwork on this one. Thanks for the important topic.
I see the promoters of various stoves popping up to publicise their favourite stoves For a complete look at what is going on in the world of stoves go to http://www.bioenergylists.org and read widely before accepting any producers claims. Most self-reported testing is quite biased.
Sticking to the very important topic of BC, BC nanoparticles have a very detrimental effect on human health, not so much organic carbon (OC). They even get into the red blood cells they are so small. Please do not try to minimise the effect just because some laugh at BC heating in the atmosphere (which is about 640 times greater per kg than CO2). BC circulates high in the atmosphere and can easily be measured inside a commercial aircraft with an aethalometer.
A very important, nay critical point: the stoves tested exhibited a large variation in emissions from test to test. In fact the method of assessment gave results with a high coefficient of variance (CoV). You will, well-meaning readers, have to understand that the tests method itself is responsible for a great deal of this variation, not necessarily the stove or fuel or operational method. The testing that is commonly done trying to capture emissions (various tests) are to say the least, inaccurate with systematic errors of 50% or more. The results of most testing shows that ‘fan stoves’ are much cleaner than most others. However that is just the stoves tested, it is not a statement that can be applied in principle fr all stoves. I have been working with natural draft stoves that are 99.9% cleaner than the baseline and a) they are not mentioned or tested, b) they do not require electricity and c) they can burn a wide variety of supposedly ‘dirty fuels’. It is not necesarily the fuels that are ‘dirty’ it is the stoves that are not designed properly to burn them. If you put diesel in a gasoline engine it makes a lot of smoke. Shall we blame the fuel?
Many poor people who have an electrical connection, often small and informal, cook with biomass. People without money do not cook with electricity. In South Africa 80% of people have at least some electricity. In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia it is similar. Many in India have a small connection to the grid, even if tempermental. Running a fan stove is very inexpensive. There are battery powered fan stoves for campers in the US (campstove.com) but we are talking in India about rechargable batteries that can last for over a week (the BP pellet stove, well…ex-BP). If the power comes on, it charges, if not, no problem. Cooking on a fan stove burning pellets is very much like cooking on gas – highly controllable heat and rapid starting and much cheaper and safer than LPG. People like them a lot. We are trying to being them to the Eastern Cape in SA.
Natural draft stoves are also popular and there are very clean burning ones. However most stoves have significant drawbacks of one kind or another but are promoted by their enthusiast designers all the same. The best social fit is not always obvious to a backyard engineer – there are many factors affecting product choice.
Stoves are now available with thermoelectric generators (TEG) that will operate LED’s and charge cell phones (which many poor people have, BTW). TEG’s are becoming very cheap: <$3. There is even a pot with a USB port on the end of the handle.
The Sustainable Energy Technology And Research (SeTAR) Centre is promoting better, more accurate and flexible stove testing protocols so that this type of conversation leads ultimately to much better products, health and environment for all. The search for better products continues at all times.

“Larry Sheldon says:
April 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm
On universal electri[f]ication and poverty…
REA and TVA solved all the problems in Mississippi, didn’t they?”
Ah, the old “if a given solution can’t solve ALL problems, clearly it must not be able to solve ANY problems” routine.
I’ve been through the Mississippi region many times, often on recreational motorcycle rides that provide ample opportunity for casual observation of folks living off the main drags, and I’ve rarely seen people cooking for sustenance using dung. Have you?
Are you suggesting that the people living in the Mississippi region would be somehow better off WITHOUT access to affordable and constantly available electricity? Perhaps with no access to electricity, or only occasional access, or rolling blackouts–all those would be superior to the reliable electricity supplies they currently enjoy? That’s how you’d rather live, is it? How you’d rather your children grow up?
Well, is it? Sheesh. I bet you have a PhD, too, doncha.

Andrew30

All this talk about fans a bellows, it appears that many people think that they are cooking tortillas and they are in a hurry. They’re not and they’re not. Some things are thin, some things are thick and some take time. They don’t need a forge. A small fire with hot over here and warm over there and keep the rice water warm on the rocks, all in good time. Anyone who has ever cooked a meal over a campfire knows you need all kinds of different heat.
Look at the image in this posting. One person (a child) is supervising a meal being cooked and the other person is boiling something. One meal will be ready all at the same time; whereas the rice (or whatever is being boiled) will be cold by the time the veggies are done which will also be cold once the flat-bread is done; and their socks will still be wet.
A lot of people don’t seem to get out much and are in a hurry all the time.

samuellhall

Easy to use a thermoelectric unit on the stove to power a fan. Here is one:
Heat powered fan

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
Poverty will always be with us.
BUT Infrastructure and Free Trade Markets are the “proven” to raise economies. These stove address neither.

Goldie

Ok, so the major issue (embarressment) is that whilst the EPA and most of the west promulgates a standard of 50 microgrammes of fine particulates (PM10) as a daily average for health in communities. Most people in underdeveloped countries are exposed to thousands of microgrammes per day due to a combination of poor cooking methods and natural background in desert areas. This is definately worth resolving, but It looks like the researchers have a couple of problems;
1) Their solution doesn’t consistently work
2) you cant’t get research money these days without including climate change in the grant application.