Woodgas Stoves Available
Tom Reed, Biomass Energy Foundation, April 2006
I conceived of the first WoodGas stove ("inverted downdraft stove" also known as "toplit updraft", "upside downdraft", ..) in 1985 while traveling in South Africa with Tom Miles and others. I built a "tin can" version at the National Renewable Energy Lab the Friday after I returned using laboratory compressed air and I probably have pictures (analogue, slide, ?) in my archives from that time 20 years ago.
But they don't have compressed air or power in countries where these would be most useful, so I spent the next 18 years trying to make a natural draft version. They work (see STOVES at REPP and
http://www.woodgas.com/Woodgas stove.pdf) moderately well, but not as well as our 1985 model.
In 1997 I added a fan below the stove (like Fred Hottenroth's Sierra stove, but forming a gasifier - close coupled to correct air/fuel
combustion) and the flame got much cleaner and hotter (see www.woodgas.com/Turbo Stove MS-PITBC FINAL.pdf). Robb Walt (of Community Power Corporation, see www.gocpc.com) and I took the stove around the world in 1998, showing it to various groups that should have been interested. I worked with CPC to make various other models (a two burner apartment model with better primary/secondary ratio control), but we could not interest Shell or other funding agencies to produce and distribute it. CPC has gone on to make larger gasifiers and the BIomass Energy Foundation returned to stoves and gasifiers in my home lab, and now in our new 3000 ft2 lab.
In 2001 I decided that US campers would be interested in and could afford the stoves. I made 15 stoves in my home shop for beta testing and they were very successful. In 2002 Shivayam Ellis, Paul DeBruicker and I formed WoodGasLLC to develop and manufacture the stoves. In 2003 Shivayam redesigned the stove for manufacture and produced > 100 stoves which we quickly sold (at $65). Shivayam and I were both involved in several other projects and Paul went to business school, so the stove business languished.
In 2005 we met James Becker who was interested in manufacturing and selling the stoves. We gave him our dies and jigs and he has improved them and is producing the stoves in Mexico and planning production elsewhere. We now sell the stoves at our website store
(http://www.woodgas.com/bookstore.htm) along with our books on gasification and biomass.
The stove is now available at our website for $55, and I believe anyone interested in gasification should try it out. The stove is a toplit, pyrolytic gasifier and close coupled burner. It generates 3 kW of clean heat (like the large element on an electric stove) from sticks, chips, pellets and most other biomass - and coal. In addition to camping and experimenting it will be useful as an emergency cookstove.
I am, of course, pleased that this has reached commercial production after 20 years. I look forward to there being more of these gasifiers than all other gasifiers combined in the world. I'm still pursuing our "Billion Stoves" target and expecting that many other models will be made based on these principles.
Yours for a better world,