Problem #1: Smoke Inhalation: Indoor air pollution is responsible for the death of approximately 1.9 million people annually worldwide- one death every 20 seconds! In the rain-forest belt, people must cook indoors and few kitchen huts have windows or appropriate roof ventilation. Smoke inhalation from open fire cooking is the leading cause of indoor air pollution deaths and the majority occur among women and young children. A study by John Brown University determined that 20% of children in Guatemala die from the effects of open fire cooking before the age of five.
Problem #2: Deforestation: Approximately 50% of the forests that previously covered the Earth are now destroyed. Each year, another 16 million hectares disappear. The World Resources Institute estimates that only about 22% of the world’s original forest cover remains intact. Traditional open-fire cooking requires large amounts of wood fuel. Although most of this wood is fallen timber, the effects of constantly clearing the forest floors of its degrading wood disrupts the life-cycle of the forest. Rapid deforestation also leads to diminished or lost water shed capacity creating water shortages, soil erosion and decreased food production. The people affected by this problem are the “bottom billion” who survive on less than $1.00 USD per day and cannot afford an alternative and more effective cooking mechanism.
Contextual Solutions has developed a smokeless stove using the principles of “secondary combustion” which yields high efficiency combustion. Many versions of Smokeless Stoves are available for purchase, but not accessible to the underprivileged due to the high costs associated with factory production and delivery (most are made in China and shipped in bulk quantities) making them “contextually inappropriate”. We’ve created a simple solution that can be used anywhere there is clay in the soil and can be constructed by the people who need and will use them. The system requires simple molds which are designed to create different size bricks. These bricks can be stacked in a pattern to create a smokeless stove. However accessible or remote a village may be, with our simple training, people will be empowered to build their own solution to the problem. If something were to go wrong with the initial stoves, new one can be made as easily as the first. The mold is made from locally procured wood. Each mold will make multiple stoves, on-site, using locally available materials which include clay, organic matter, pot ash water, fruit pulp and some form of straw grass. The cost per stove to the end-user is virtually nothing monetarily, only time and personal effort. This makes this stove design within reach to those with an income of $1.00USD per day.
How It Works:
Smoke is mostly a mixture of unburned flammable gases. The traditional three rock open-fire stoves do not effectively contain these gases, so smoke easily escapes the primary flames and fills the rooms where people are cooking. We have developed a smokeless stove by directing and combining the flow of smoke with flames which yields high efficiency by a means termed secondary combustion. Primary combustion is what happens directly next to the wood fuel as gases (smoke) are released and ignited. The secondary combustion happens in the short flue of the stove where the flames comingle with the gases (smoke which escaped the initial flames) and ignite. This maximizes the combustion, yielding a higher wood fuel to heat energy coefficient and eliminating the smoke and reducing the harmful effects of smoke inhalation, maximizing the heat energy created by the wood, greatly reducing wood fuel consumption. Using less wood fuel allows for dead and decaying trees to replenish the soils by recycling important nutrients and fortifying new generations of plants.
Vulnerability of System:
Effective training is the key to the successful concept adoption, construction and maintenance of the smokeless stove. It is easy to build the stove using the instructional resources available on our site and failures only come by not following instructions. The mix materials, quality and quantities, must be accurate. Poor grade clay or an improper mix will lead to premature breakdown of the stove. An initial attempt that fails often leaves villages disinterested in trying a second time. Training is the key to success and empowerment. Doing the project right the first time is the only way to achieve success. Follow our online resources and you will have success.
Dissemination of Information:
Our stove technology approach is highly effective, empowering and very inexpensive compared to other technologies. One simple wood mold, consisting of approximately 35 lineal feet of wood, can often be found locally for free or cost as little as $13.00 and possesses the potential to positively affect the lives of over 150 people. That’s less than 9 cents a person! After years of training this approach is now spreading all over the globe organization to organization.
With our on line resources anyone can learn how to effectively build a Smokeless Tower Stove. As more organizations working around the equator belt hear of our stove more and more are being built due to their appropriate design for the demographic application. Peace Crops volunteers have been great disseminators of this technology.