Our site is dedicated to helping people develop better stoves for cooking with biomass fuels in developing regions.

For additional detail and information, join the Cooking Stoves Mailing List, browse the archives, read about current projects and ask other cooking stove builders, designers, and organizations disseminating improved stoves around the world.

Christa Roth has updated the GIZ HERA Micro-gasification Manual

It is extensively revised, and features good -clear descriptions of essential cooking stove topics, e.g. choosing appropriate fuels, cooking stoves and technologies.

She highlights all of the major micro-gasifier cooking stoves, and includes a new section on biochar, with good, clear graphics and descriptions for how to use biochar.

An essential reference for everyone's cooking stove library, and this is all work supported by the German people through GiZ, we appreciate their support of Christa's amazing work. Nike

PBS put together a nice video about the efforts to improve cooking stoves around the world:

There's more information on their web page: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/building-cleaner-cookstoves/

Nancy Hughes and Gustavo Pena were highlighted with StoveTeam International. http://www.stoveteam.org/

Radha with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves did a nice job outlining development challenges.

And there were a fair number of stoves that were included in the broadcast but not mentioned by name. I saw Envirofit, Burn Design Lab, Prakti and a few others represented. Let me know which ones I missed. :-) at erin@trmiles.com Air Jordan

Find out more about the Eco-Kalan project here: http://www.eco-kalan.com/

February 3, 2014

Dear Friends,
On December 27-28, 2013, the Eco-Kalan Project Team led by Monica Sison and the Philippine Army (302nd Infantry Achiever Brigade in Tanjay, Negros Or.; 303rd Infantry Brigade in Murcia, Negros Occ,; and 62nd Infantry Battalion in Sagay) went on a relief mission to Purok San Pedro Beach in Barangay Old Sagay, Negros Occidental, Philippines*:

a) to distribute relief food supplies and clothing collected by Monica from a Catholic school where she is teaching, the Social Action Team of the Catholic Diocese of Dumaguete, and ONCAN (Oriental Negros Children Advocacy Network); and

b) to train 150 persons in the set up and use of the eco-Kalan from Barangay Old Sagay who were worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan (locally called Yolanda). These trainees would become the demonstrators at eco-Kalan presentations in their barangay in the New Year. Of the 150 persons selected by Barangay Old Sagay officials, only 35 were from Purok San Pedro Beach.

Purok San Pedro Beach is a coastal village where fishing is the main livelihood. It is also the poorest of the typhoon devastated areas in Old Sagay. Since Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit the eastern Visayas on November 8, 2013, little aid has reached this purok. The typical relief food package given to a family was 3kg of rice, 2-3 little cans of sardines and 2-3 packs of noodle soup -- a single day's meager provision for a family of 2 adults and 4 little children. Poor families extended the number of days they ate from this food aid by cooking the rice as lugaw -- i.e., rice boiled in lots of water.

There are some wonderful comprehensive overviews of clean cooking stoves on the internet.
These are a few great resources.

The GiZ Energypedia Cooking Energy Technologies and Practices https://energypedia.info/index.php/GIZ_HERA_Cooking_Energy_Compendium

and an excellent comprehensive report of Microgasification Technology compiled by Christa Roth
Micro Gasification Cooking with Gas from Biomass (pdf)

Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Catalog of Clean Stoves
and the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air report on clean cooking stove types (pdf):

HEDON (Household Energy Network) Stoves Database:

Dear Friends,

A few weeks after Typhoon Bopha (locally Pablo) struck eastern Mindanao in December 2012, I was introduced electronically to a young Filipina doing graduate studies in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She was fundraising for her home province of Davao Oriental in Vancouver but I was only able to contact her after she returned to Saskatoon. When she learned about the Eco-Kalan, she lamented at the thought of "so much rice donated to the typhoon victims but nothing to cook it with". Her lament has echoed in my mind ever since and it has made me more determined to bring the Eco-Kalan stoves to victims of disasters wherever possible, not by ourselves, but with other organizations that can provide security, reliable transportation, food, drinking water, clothing and building supplies.

When Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda) made landfall on Leyte on November 8, 2013, we immediately advised the Emergency Response Team at the Negros Oriental Governor's Office; the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Dumaguete; and our main partner, the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, of the Eco-Kalan Project's interest to join relief missions to typhoon ravaged communities. Tacloban, Leyte and the northern islands of Cebu were quickly saturated with NGOs and security became a problem so our Project accepted the assignment to Cadiz and Sagay on northern Negros Island where little or no aid had been received. The Eco-Kalan team met with local barangay officials for Cadiz Viejo and Lacawon Island and for Old Sagay to assess the needs there and took photos for documentation (see links below). We also made plans for an Eco-Kalan demonstration and distribution of relief food and clothing in Cadiz Viejo for Lacawon and Cadiz typhoon victims on December 7; and later on December 28 for Old Sagay victims to allow time for the reconstruction of a covered area on a school ground. At each Eco-Kalan demonstration, an Emergency Eco-Kalan-C Kitchen is set-up with 10 stoves each.; and 150 householders are trained in the set-up and use of the Eco-Kalan (see demonstration photos below). These trainees will be the demonstrators at the Eco-Kalan presentations on January 11, 2014 for 670 households from Lacawon Island and Cadiz Viejo; and on January 25 for the 500 or more of the 2,082 affected households in Old Sagay, depending on donations we receive. Lacawon Island will be given 5 Eco-Kalan-C to set-up an Emergency Kitchen of their own. The Emergency Eco-Kalan-C Kitchen is an essential and necessary component of our demonstrations and presentations as nothing appeals more to the poor and hungry than the delicious aroma of the food we cook on the stove they are given.

This presentation was put together by A.Phrao, Chiang Mai of the Warm Heart Foundation in Thailand. They are using biochar to attempt to restore fertility to badly degraded mountain soils, and to intensely fertilized mono-cropped soils that have low fertility.

They designed this medium sized TLUD system with the following constraints:
They wanted to design a simple, low-cost biochar burner that:

  • Can be built from locally available materials, preferably recyclables, at little cost;
  • Can be manufactured by local mechanics without
  • training;
  • Can be operated safely and efficiently by a single person;
  • Can use a variety of feed stocks, preferably field waste;
  • Can produce a minimum of 1 ton of biochar per week under normal, unpressured operating conditions.

The solution is pretty ingenious - please take a look at the PDF for all of the details.

The following is quoted from the pdf:
The 6-burner TLUD merry-go-round:
materials list

  • • 1 x children’s playground merry-go-round or equivalent
  • • 6 x 200 litre steel drums
  • • 6 x 60 litre steel drums
  • • 8 x meters 1” OD steel pipe
  • • 6 x meters 1” angle iron
  • • 6 x 3” hinges
  • • Miscellaneous nuts and bolts, welding rods, grinding wheels
  • • Circular grinder, arc welder


  • • 6 TLUD burners
  • • 55 kg corn cob load/barrel
  • • 20+ kg biochar output/barrel
  • • 120 kg per burn
  • • Single man can load, light, rotate, load, light, rotate…empty, extinguish, empty, extinguish… all six loads in 1.5 hrs.
  • • Single man can grind full load in 1.5 hrs.
  • • Two full loads per day = 240 kg/day
  • • 6 day week = 1,440 kg/wk
  • • Feed stock requirement = 3,600 kg/wk
  • • Cost: corn cob @ 700 baht/ton ($23.35) or $60/ton biochar if farmer does not have own supply

nike headquarters Sneakers

The Urban Household Energy Transition
Energy, Poverty, and the Environment in the Developing World
Douglas F. Barnes, Kerry Krutilla, and William Hyde
March 2004

This book develops a comprehensive assessment of the evolution of
residential fuel choice and consumption in urban areas in the developing world,
and the effect of urban growth on periurban forest resources. The research is basedon an comprehensive analysis of a series of household energy surveys performed under the auspices of the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) of the World Bank From 1984-2000, this program produced more than 25,000 household energy surveys in 45 cities spanning 12 countries and 3 continents. Additionally, GIS mapping software was used to compile a data base of site specific vegetation patterns surrounding a sub-sample of 34 cities. Taken together, the energy surveys and the biomass data contained sufficiently wide variation in urban fuel choice and consumption patterns, local resource conditions, and energy policy regimes to enable an assessment of the factors underlying the evolution of urban fuel utilization and forest resources. By comparing the patterns of energy use of a large number of cities, we were able to distill a comprehensive picture of both the diversity underlying the energy transition and the fundamental principles applying across cases.

Full report at:

Dale Andreatta, Ph.D., P.E.
November 18, 2013
A series of tests was done to compare the Cajun Rocket Pot (the finned pot) with an ordinary pot of effectively the same size. The finned pot has 70 round fins (pin fins) on the bottom with a diameter of 13 mm and a length of 14 mm. The diameter of the bottom of both the regular and finned pots is 248 mm.

The area of the bottom of the flat pot is 0.04828 m2, and the area of the bottom of the finned pot is 0.0883, or 83% greater. Moreover, the flow is impinging on one side of the fins, which typically gives much better heat transfer than gas flowing parallel to a surface, which is what happens over most of the bottom of a flat bottom pot. It would therefore be expected that the finned pot would have much better heat transfer efficiency.

Both pots were tested on 7 different heating devices, with the fire conditions set up to be as close as possible between pot tests. Only one test was done on each pot. There are a variety of ways to compare the effectiveness of the two pots, and as many ways were used as were meaningful for that stove.

The 7 heating methods were:

  • 1. Natural gas range
  • 2. Propane stove
  • 3. High performance charcoal stove
  • 4. Open fire burning wood
  • 5. Simulated open fire burning natural gas
  • 6. Fan powered stove burning wood
  • 7. Rocket stove burning wood.

The heating methods will be described in more detail in the sections on test results for the individual
In general, possible methods for comparing the pots are:

  • 1. Time to boil, corrected to 5000 g of water and 80 degree temperature rise
  • 2. High power efficiency
  • 3. High power heat transfer
  • 4. Low power efficiency
  • 5. Low power heat transfer
  • 6. Overall efficiency (weighted average of high power and low power)
  • 7. Average efficiency (simple average of high power and low power)
  • 8. Total fuel consumed.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these methods, and there is no one right way to compare the pots. Some methods are not appropriate to use for some stoves, but in general, results will be given for as many ways as possible to compare the two pots. The reader can decide which is the most valid way of comparing the pots.

File attachments: 

Dear Friends
As of this writing, it was just three hours since I was back from Tacloban City. I took the 13:40 flight of the Air Asia.
The following are the impressions I gathered from the trip. My observations were limited to only the city center from November 23 to 24, 2013 and through a distant observer’s point of view. However, I was not able to capture the anguish, and despair of the aftermath.

wocket stove with wok
wocket stove galvanized interior
wocket stove galvanized finished
wocket stove stainless interior
wocket stove stainless finished

Wocket Stoves

Sustainable Berea wanted me to build them a couple of rocket stoves to be used with woks for stir frying lunch during their local Solar Tour.

I bought a couple of 14” steel woks for cooking and a 14” stainless steel wok and a 13 quart stainless steel bowl for skirts.

I used the stainless bowl with 4“ galvanized steel stovepipe and the stainless wok with 4” stainless steel stovepipe.

I used 4” Tees for combustion chambers, 2x4 metal stud piece for feed chamber and expanded metal for grate and back wall of combustion chamber.

I used 6 gallon metal buckets for the shells.

I put a 1” thick piece of ceramic fiber board under the bottom of each Tee.

I put an 8” stovepipe outside of the galvanized steel riser to reduce overheating and insulated between it and the bucket with fiberglass insulation.

I insulated around the stainless stovepipe with two 1” pieces of ceramic fiber blanket and between the ceramic fiber and the bucket with fiberglass.


Subscribe to Improved Biomass Cooking Stoves RSS