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Sarah Carter, October, 2011
Nexus Center for Development

Nexus Center for Development is an organization that is working with partners in the carbon credit market and focused on finding projects that alleviate poverty and simultaneously reduce climate change.

Sarah was gracious enough to share her presentation on cooking stoves with us
Biochar stoves: An innovation
studies perspective

Mike Barbee, January 2012

Jatropha curcas is grown as a living livestock corral and as a bio-fuel crop in several areas of the developing world. The seed from the Jatropha plant, as well as the oils are toxic to animals and to people. Ingestion, or skin contact with the oils of the plants, leafs and seeds is known to be toxic, and Mike does a nice job of documenting the current research about the plant in his paper: Summary of Literature on Jatropha Toxicity

It appears that there is NO RESEARCH on the toxicity of Inhaled jatropha either seed, stem, or cake (or pressed cake) form. This is an area of particular concern for me as we evaluate the effectiveness of using Jatropha as a fuel for cooking stoves.

to quote Mike:

There are no studies about jatropha the fraction of phorbol esters that may be present during pressing, composting, or burning. There is not enough information about the volatility to estimate the partitioning of oil that may contain esters in the air during the processing and application

The Key recommendation:
"It is recommended at this point, that those who are working directly with oil and seed cake during the pressing process wear protective eye and skin covering and, if possible, surgical masks to reduce inhalation."

  • Field research in Jilin province, China
  • Use of nephelometer in rural field setting
  • Characterization of indoor air quality and driving factors
  • Case study: three village-scale clean energy interventions


  • nephelometers promising, but must be used with caution
  • High-humidity samples or dense, poorly mixed plumes create nonsystematic optical distortion
  • Conventional measures of central tendency sensitive to distortion when high-humidity samples are not censored

Indoor air quality and driving factors in a rural Chinese village

  • Time-resolved CO and PM data enable characterization of peak pollution periods.
  • Diversity of fuels within single village facilitate investigation of fuel- and stove-related factors as well as tobacco smoking as determinants of indoor air pollution.

Though 24-h CO well within standards, a substantial fraction (27%) of peak 1-h episodes exceed WHO’s 1-h guideline & outliers surpass OSHA’s evacuation threshold. Short-term resolution is critical for characterizing acute risks posed by CO exposures in rural kitchens.

Adoption of “improved” cooking fuels does not suffice to reduce indoor air pollution where heating dominates fuel use. Health-oriented interventions limited to provision of improved cooking fuel are insufficient in cold climates.

File attachments: 

ETHOS 2012, Seattle, Washington January, 2012

The annual lighting of the fires was well represented by various forms of TLUD and T-CHAR units. Christa Roth and Amanda are in the top picture with the prototype of the new Hot Cube. It's a flat pack design that can be assembled by local artisans. The top cube is a biomass burning t-char design, and the bottom cube is an improved charcoal cooker.

In the second photo, Paul Anderson is showing off a brand new T-CHAR protype. The T-CHAR is very much like a TLUD but it has an open bottom. Biomass can be burned to make char over a can or pot to reserve it later, or it can be used over a conventional charcoal stove.

Jet City Stoveworks brought their metal Jatropha Seed Gasifier. It was a windy, wet day, and the stove burned jatropha seeds pretty well. The metal between the gasifier top and the chimney is a warming area that was requested by the community that they are developing the stove for. It gets pretty warm. I may still have the burn on my finger from touching it when it was hot. (I work with hot stoves all the time, and it amazes me how often I forget that metal that's been near fire is frequently hot).

The blue 'tank' is a beautiful looking insulated charcoal stove that Burn Design Lab (Peter Scott and co) has been designing. Burn has is responding to consumer pressure and offering a more effecient, and beautifully designed charcoal stove. They are also planning to sell the latest versions of their biomass cooking stoves this year.

The final two pictures highlight Karsten and the metal TLUD stove that he is building in Uganda. It is well manufactured, sturdy, was my favorite for cooking marshmallows and it sells for just under US$20.

Alex English, January 2012

Its a long winter, and old bones and cord wood and Crispin make me

Attached are two pictures which show my early steps towards
understanding the limitations of gravity with stoves.
One shows a wedge shaped door spacer "the Artful Dodger' which picks the stove's pocket for draft and connect it to any burner idea I can cobble together.

The other shows it operating with a burner that has a small unsealed
hopper for pellets. I use a loose lid/follower to ride down on the
pellets. So far there has been no fumes coming up and out, and the fire has not chased the air and fuel back into the hopper. The bottom throat on the hopper is about 5 cm diameter. It operates continuously at one speed with an input of 1.6 kg of wood pellet per hour.

For a video

African Re-greening Initiatives, Chris Reij


Web Alliance for Regreening in the Sahel


Video - Tony Rinaudo: The Man Who Stopped the Desert


making Zia Catchment Holes

Christa Roth, January, 2012

To the members of the list who don't know Energypedia yet: it is an online resource created as a Wiki by GIZ . After some years of development as company-interal resource, it was opened to the public energy community late last year. No registration needed to read.

Dear all,

For over two years we have been telling people that in two weeks or so we hope to have the mud Rocket Stove website updated. It finally happened. Flip has worked countless hours on this. This morning she shouted out, "The baby is born!"

Thanks to Larry Winiarski for all the mentoring and watching over us. Without Larry and the Good Lord this would have never happened. http://www.rechoroket.com/Home.html

Happy New Year,
Jon and Flip

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott, December, 2011

The Sustainable energy Technology and Research (SeTAR) Centre is a multi-disciplinary research facility that operates under the aegis of the Faculty of Science at the University of Johannesburg. The SeTAR Centre was formally launched in March 2010. The centre is housed in a cottage within the University of Johannesburg Research Village on the Bunting Road Campus, with dedicated office space and a testing laboratory in the basement of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) building.

The SeTAR Centre is engaged on research programmes that focus on energy poverty in both rural and urban areas of South Africa; the role that energy has to play in climate protection in the sustainability of a megacity (Gauteng); the public understanding of science; and networking on energy issues in the Africa region. The SeTAR Centre provides research facilities for energy studies for masters and doctoral students through its affiliation with the Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies (GEMES) in the Faculty of Science.

One of the Research Programs is the Basic Energy Programme

The programme focuses on energy poverty and acts as an innovation hub for the development of basic energy solutions for cooking, heating, lighting and productive use for the low income communities. Services and research streams include:

Testing Laboratory
: SeTAR centre has a fully equipped basic energy testing laboratory for use as part of research activities or on a fee-for-service basis. The centre has advanced equipment and automated systems to ensure all tests are carried out satisfactorily and competently. The SeTAR centre was commissioned to characterize thermal efficiency and gaseous emissions of a variety of fuel/stove combinations. In the process of evaluating these stoves, the research staff have also been engaged in the development of written procedures, leading to the Heterogeneous stove Testing Protocol (HTP).

Energy Poverty Research: Focusing on energy access, socio-economics and user needs and aspirations. This assists in designing sector-specific intervention.

Energy Design Innovation: Involved with the design and innovation of safe, clean and affordable basic energy technologies.

Networking and Information: Coordinating a regional (Africa) university-based People’s Energy Network (PEN) and also developing a South African network and industry association.

Attached is the 2011 Annual Report,

Richard Stanley, December, 2011


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