ETHOS 2009 Developing World Cooking Stove Conference
Charlie Sellers, February 11,2009

Charlie Sellers and GEKCharlie Sellers and GEK

This was my third ETHOS (Engineers in Technical and Humanitarian Opportunities of Service – a long name for people who often just call themselves “stovers”), and the Seattle suburbs are as cold as usual at this time of year. ~100 researchers came from around the world to compare notes on stove projects, stove designs, standards and testing procedures, health impacts, other associated appropriate technologies, and so on. More apparent this year was interest in carbon credit funding and biochar (terra preta) applications, and all year long there has been an increased emphasis on refugee camp stoves (and more testing of stoves in the field, versus in the laboratory) so this was more apparent at the conference.

Nat MulcahyNat Mulcahy

There was a raft of new stoves introduced this year, including the new BioLight thermoelectric-powered-fan one for camping and more, the likewise fan powered Lucia Stove from (shown with developer Nate Mulcahy),

Crispin Pemberton-PiggottCrispin Pemberton-Piggott

and the souped up Peko Pe natural draft gasifier presented by Paul Anderson (pictured with Crispin Pemberton-Pigott, wielding his ever present combustion analyzer).

Rocketeers Larry Winiarski and Dean StillRocketeers Larry Winiarski and Dean Still

The venerable Dr. Larry Winiarski and Dean Still are also shown here with the upcoming finned pot atop StoveTec’s ( rocket stove - now 36,000 strong in the field just since last year.

The trend toward stove models like all these, designed for mass manufacturing, continues, and this trend was recently discussed here: coming-of-corporate-biomass-stoves-mass.html). And yours truly demonstrated in light snow the new biomass gasifier (the red one) from All Power Labs here in Berkeley ( Look soon for Peter Scott’s new rocket stove design and application website at

Resources for the interested include past conference proceedings () and reviews

and the master site for all things related to biomass stoves is here:

Notes from the ETHOS Conference of 2009,
by Paul S. Anderson, 4 February 2009

I enjoyed (and benefited from) the 2009 ETHOS Conference more than in most previous years. ETHOS is growing and evolving, and so are our stoves.

This year we seemed to have had more discussions of issues than in the past. There were topical “panels” of usually three or four qualified people. The topics of these plenary sessions were: Carbon Credits; Stove Testing Issues (not results of specific stoves); Safety; and Stove Standards. Those sessions still tended to be presentations, but there was somewhat more interaction and some effort to get to the underlying difficulties that need more discussion. Attendees still need to read-between-the-lines and/or have some more private discussions to see some of the differences of position.

The session Crispin and I led about controversial issues that need to be discussed was only moderately successful (in my opinion) because we spent our time identifying the issues and did not have time for discussions of those issues. Next year, we hope to have some of those topics PRE-identified and to have discussion time about those issues. I have volunteered to work on that, and Mark B. has accepted my offer. (More about this in some future messages.)

There were still about 30 somewhat standard (academic style) presentations, usually with PowerPoint slides. But they were in three concurrent sessions with 30 minutes (too much in my opinion) allocated to each presenter (who usually did make sure to fill all of the minutes, often with background info that could have been omitted, in my opinion). So each attendee could only hear about 10 of them. I will comment on four of the nine that I was able to attend. There were certainly other excellent presentations, but I am not trying to summarize the entire conference.

1. Alan Berick did a masterful job of calling attention to simmering by the use of only charcoal, available from the fire that was used to bring the pot to boil. There were questions about the heat retained in a ceramic stove body, etc., and certainly he will do more work on this. But really he called attention to the need to have “different” heat sources for boiling and simmering. This is akin to the advocacy of retained heat cookers (RHC or “hayboxes”) for integrated cooking. We should all think more about having two or more modes or devices for different cooking (as in bringing-to-boiling vs. simmering vs. tea-for-two in the morning).

2. Jonathan Cedar and Alex Drummond discussed (and later showed) their “BioLight” cookstove that includes an attractive device attached to the side of the stove to use the heat of the fire to create the electricity (via a TEG = thermoelectric generator) to drive the blower to make the fire burn well. The theory and practice have been known for a long time, but they impressively accomplished it in their attractive prototype, a variation of a Reed-style Woodgas Campstove. Neither the stove body nor the TEG power units are available for purchase, but they should be encouraged to continue their work. [Side note: The TEG in the bottom of the innovative Philips cookstove (seen in previous years) has been removed and that stove is moving to the marketplace with battery or plug-in for the required electric power.]

3. I liked my own presentation about the low emissions of TLUD gasifiers, especially if the charcoal is NOT burned in the TLUD. This favorably relates both to Alan Berick’s findings (above) and to the carbon credit and biochar sequestration topics. (Enough said. My paper is at the Stoves Internet site: I think that in future years we should have many papers placed there in advance of the conference.)

4. Nathaniel “Nat” Mulcahy attended ETHOS for the first time and (in my opinion) presented the most dramatic stove innovation I have seen since the day I met Tom Reed and his TLUD prototype. Nat presented about the Lucia Stove (and some info about the larger WorldStove). True science and engineering in action. His website is underdeveloped, but he has 13 YouTube items that will partially bring you up to speed. Visit: I will be writing more in another message about his “coaxial gasification” (vs. stratified gasification in TLUDs and most other small gasifiers). I spent some extra time with Nat and can say that he has deep understanding of the issues, and he has solutions already in place.

The “Lighting of the Stoves” was Sunday afternoon, with a light snowfall!! Five stoves were fired up.

1. The Rocket stove produced in China. Reliable, economical, and this one had a very nice pot-skirt that attached to the pot and let the emissions/draft out through (20 mm??) holes near the top of the skirt. Many people (including me) purchased one of those stoves (and would like to get the skirt). Contact Aprovecho to get your stove (under US$30, plus shipping).

2. The “PP-Plus” natural draft TLUD from Servals in Chennai, India. It uses the natural draft techniques combined by Paul Anderson and Paal Wendelbo. I will be posting within a few days a document on how to make a PP-Plus gasifier. (Wendelbo’s extremely interesting life as a TLUD pioneer was highlighted at the Friday night slide-show and is at the Stoves Website: ).

3. The GEK downdraft gasifier. This is not a cookstove. It is a gasifier intended as a start-up kit for aspiring gasifier enthusiasts, including cleaning and cooling of the gases. This is for sale as a kit or as a set of plans for construction. About forty units are around the world.

4. The Lucia Stove by Nat Mulcahy. Mentioned previously. The live-fire demo was impressive. The turbulence of the gases/flame and the air control provided a very clean combustion, measured by Crispin and his furnace-emissions analyzer.

5. The BioLight by Drummond and Cedar. Discussed previously. It performed very well, and was measured by Crispin to have very clean combustion slightly better than the other four stoves shown this year.

As someone mentioned, in previous years usually only one gasifier was among the stoves ignited. But this year four of the five were gasifiers, each distinctly different from the others.

The “Crispin Awards” were inaugurated this year. Crispin gave out three little bottles of “Gold Medal” Canadian pure maple syrup to stoves 3, 4, and 5 in the above list. The criteria were the emissions readings from his furnace emissions analysis equipment. The three winners did share one thing in common. All three were with force air, and even used true blowers, not just small fans.

In summary, it was a beneficial conference. Another report on the meeting has been posted by Kelpie Wilson, with insights especially for the issues of biochar:

Hello stoves community,

At ETHOS 2009 we held a panel on stove safety, bringing in viewpoints from corporate standards development, national standards certification, and small to medium scale developers. The team led by Nathan Johnson (Iowa State University) included Crispin Pemberton-Pigott (New Dawn Engineering), Casper Thijssen (Philips), and Karabi Dutta.

The panel gave a comparative analysis of how different stove industries (multinational corporations, medium-scale companies, NGOs, small developers, etc.) addressed fundamental stove safety questions. These topics included:

a) applicability of standards and regulation;
b) incentives and benefits
c) facilities and equipment availability
d) cost vs. benefit
e) resulting action

We determined that each type of industry has a different perspective that influences their path or actions towards a safer stove. And that all sub-industries may not produce safer stoves given the same incentive mechanisms or policies. As such more than one path to safety may be needed to reach the greatest amount of end-users (and producers). The panel ended the discussion with an overview present work in stove safety with recommendations for next steps.

Please view the attached file for more details. I will be leading a group in 2009 to work on the following: assemble database of injury data, b) analyze incentive mechanisms, cost/ benefit, c) development of lab testing procedures for different stove categories, d) publication of findings/ results, and e) look for partnerships with international agencies to support safer stove design and production.

Please contact me if you have any questions. There will be more updates to follow. Best,
Nathan Johnson
PhD Candidate, Mechanical Engineering, International Development
Iowa State University

Mark Bryden, January 21, 2009
ETHOS 2009 – Changing the World… one household at a time
NGOs, academics, students, technical trainers, and global programs.

ETHOS Conference, January 23-25, 2009
Mark Bryden, December 2008


It's almost that time again time again. The ETHOS conference will be held January 23-25 in Kirkland, Washington. Kirkland is a suburb of Seattle.

The 2009 ETHOS Conference aims to expand its reach from previous annual meetings. We invite presentation, workshops, and discussion of technology in the developing world. Particularly those talks focused on heating and cooking stoves, design for developing communities, incineration of medical waste, and lighting. In addition we are hoping to sponsor a track on the topic of carbon credits in the developing world.

We encourage the participation of Southern partners, international stoves experts, and development specialists with field experience in the transfer of appropriate technologies.

Please submit a title and brief abstract of your proposed talk on or before January 1.

Preconference workshops
Friday, January 23 morning and afternoon are available for preconference workshops. Please contact me before December 15 if you wish to present a preconference workshop.

Other Activities
There are many formats (paper session, workshops, hands-on sessions, panels, one-on-one mentoring etc) that can present relevant information to our community. If you wish to organize one of these please contact me with the details before December 15.

Complete details about the conference can be found at

Please contact me if you have any questions or want to discuss your ideas for the conference.


Stove Camp Highlights
Nordica MacCarty, Aprovecho Research Center, August 2008
Aprovecho Stove CampAprovecho Stove Camp
Greetings Stove Campers!

I hope you are all well, back in your corners of the world.

At long last, the summary and data from stove camp is available, including:
*An attached .pdf of the results and highlights of camp.
*All of the presentations and resources posted on our website at:
*Many photos are also uploaded on picasa at

Thanks for making Stove Camp 2008 a great success, and we hope to see you in the future!

With best wishes,
Mrs. Nordica MacCarty
Laboratory Manager, Mechanical Engineer
Aprovecho Research Center
541-767-0287 Oregon, USA

ETHOS 2008 Conference
Charlie Sellers, Improved Biomass Stoves, February 3, 2008

See Charlie Seller's report on ETHOS 2008

Propuesta para el Comité Técnico del ETHOS sobre Métodos de Prueba de las Estufas

ETHOS 2007, Seattle, Washington, USA Jan 26-28, 2007

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott, Larry Winiarski and Charlie Sellers Test Tom Reed's Woodgas Stove with a Combustion Analyzer.

ETHOS 2007 in Seattle was a stimulating and inspiring event. Many thanks to the ETHOS executive committe for organizing it and to the 120 attendees, some who dragged stoves on airplanes to the event. There were many high points during three (for some four) days of meetings which I am sure will be discussed in these forums and on the web for weeks to come. To list a few:

Summary of Aprovecho’s Summer Stove Camp, 2006
By Dean Still and Nordica MacCarty, September 6, 2006

Aprovecho Camp 2006 02Aprovecho Camp 2006 02

Stove Camp 2006 was extremely interesting, especially because we had experts here who could help define what is known, figure out what needed to be done to expand the state of knowledge, and then, most importantly, have the tools to accomplish the experiments.

For Dean, the best moments happened around the table above when Chris Roden, Jonathan Lewis, the Aprovecho staff and everyone tried to get a general feeling for wood-burning stoves effect on global warming. Aprovecho’s recent tests at CSU of greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2, Methane, N2O, NOx, etc. helped to predict the gaseous emissions from the following stoves:
• Three stone fire
• Rocket stove
• Karve Gasifier stove
• Philips fan stove
• Charcoal Jiko stove
• Mayon rice hull burning stove

The gases, however, are only a part of the picture: particles also play an important role in the atmosphere. We learned that elemental (black) carbon particles produced in flames have a warming effect 1000 times greater than CO2 per gram, while organic carbon (white) particles produced by smoldering have a cooling effect 150-200 times stronger than CO2. Thankfully, Chris Roden had brought his and Dr. Tami Bond’s ARACHNE system which could measure the composition of the total PM to determine what percentage of black or white particles were produced by the stoves above. Chris, Damon and Nordica were at the lab till 11pm having a great time testing these stoves. Results should be available soon.

Doing this kind of research in a small lab in Creswell, Oregon for no money is what ETHOS stove camp is all about!

The publicized theme of this year’s camp was a competition to design the cleanest-burning fan stove. Two categories, side feed and top feed were awarded prizes. The top feed prize went to Dr. Paul van der Sluis for the Philips fan stove. The side feed Rocket stove with fan developed by Roger and Sule of Colorado State was the cleanest burning side feed stove. Congratulations to the winners!


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