Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sheet Metal FES Stove Design and Construction

The EWB ATDT stove group had a fantastic month, with some teams designing, some making, some assembling, some testing, and some taking new stoves to Darfur, Sudan.

The purpose of this particular post is to educate myself (and preserve the information on the web), and perhaps you too, about Fuel Efficient Stoves (FES) for developing countries. More information is never a bad thing, so ATDT members who want to know a little more deserve a resource. The focus here is on details of metal stoves (a subset of FES) - design, cultural and functional assessment, local resources, quality control, initial introduction, social analysis, continuous improvement, diffusion based on merits, sustainability, benefit analysis, project documentation, etc. Because we have another round of stove design going on right now - to make changes based on more feedback from Sudan - I will start with very design oriented links, and then more general ones will be added for completeness. No need to look at all of these - just the ones that catch your attention.

There have been sheet metal stoves in the past, and the one being developed here for Sudan is special because it has been optimized for the local cooking conditions and culture. To get a glimpse of just how many FES stove types have been named (like butterfly species?) and listed and linked - there are at least two current tabulating sites (numerous older stove pages have gone defunct over the years) that show the diversity of this genus:
or by country:

But zooming in to just the very specific arena of metal FES - of course there is a blog just on metal FES stoves! What could be more specialized, the nitty gritty details of home diabetes treatments for cats? Scattered through these pages there are important tidbits of information on every aspect of offering new stoves to people in foreign countries. You know I like a good concise blog...and we similarly find a manageably sized chunk of information on the rest of the web - some of the classic stoves that are in use all over the world include:
Getting a little more specific here, with links just pertaining to metal stoves in Sudan/Africa:

In this post I have sucessfully avoided all mention of technical things like the size of the stove-pot gap, the exact optimal range of the grate "open area", the sensitivity to the grate-pot distance, heat transfer aspects of the different thickness of steel recommended (and the overall mass of the stove), the diameter or volume to efficiency relationship, the possible unimportance of the Biot number, the relative or absolute amount of particulates and CO emitted (and even efficiency details - or at least what method to use when measuring), how to effectively use these stoves in the field (and how to teach people how to use them), maintenace and repair, construction details (Who, how, where, and when?), libertarian assumptions, dissemination dilution and dispersion methods, viral distribution tendencies when provided free, and so on; so far this isstill all just light background reading. And itis possible that no one in history has yet solved many of these problems. But they might have - those of us who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group

Check out the work of these appropriate technologists working in Guatamala. We'll hear more about them at our next AT-Team meeting. In the meantime, check out the technologies they've been developing at

* picture above is an emergency alcohol stove -- fashioned out of a soda can, fiber glass, and an aluminum baking sheet