Appropriate Technology Association

The use of biomass fibers used as binders of a charcoal matrix --all done at ambient temperatures and at pressures generated by a simple hand press (12 to 15 bars) -and there are many such options– is certainly a viable alternative to boiling up starch or sugar on one end or purchasing the mechanized press and consuming the energy to generate the higher temperature/pressure for lignin melting. I will being the samples to the stoves camp to show what kind of densities can be achieved by infilling a properly processed fiber matrix with such as charcoal fines but I find it puzzling that this alternative now active in 67 nations globally, escapes mention.

Richard Stanley

Dear Tom,

we had developed, during the 1990s, a series of mud stoves, which not only possessed a higher fuel use efficiency but which also reduced the harmful emissions when compared with the emissions from traditional stoves used by the local people. They are made and sold even today by rural artisans trained by us. The cost is in the range of US$2 to 5. In 2003, the Shell Foundation came forward to support our stoves programme, but we had to stop promoting our own mud stoves, and we were allowed to propagate only models approved by Shell Foundation. The approved models had much lower emissions but they carried a price tag in the range of US$15 to 25.

One of the conditions laid down in this project was that the stoves must be propagated through commercial channels, without subsidy of any kind. We failed to achieve the targets set under the project, and because of this reason, Shell Foundation withdrew their support. We still sell the stoves approved by Shell Foundation but our clients are not the rural poor.

We have not given up our efforts to improve the performance of the simple mud stoves. The latest attempt is a model in which the body of the stove is made of a porous material, which has a high insulative capacity. The emissions are much nearer to internationally accepted standards. This stove costs about US$10, and if mass produced, it can be supplied at a price of about US$6 to 7

Subscribe to Appropriate Technology Association