Life Hacks

Smokeless Stove All You Need To Know

Image Credits: Manmatha Roul Taken From Researchgate.net Link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/359937495_Design_and_development_of_smokeless_stove_for_a_sustainable_growth

A smokeless stove is not entirely without any trace of smoke; but it does tremendously reduce the smoke because the fuel is quite efficiently burned. This marks a great improvement to the previous way of doing things; in which women had to endure the smoke in their lungs and eyes.

Of course, it is not just women who are affected by the smoke; carbons released into the air are bad for everyone. They warm the planet; cause havoc to the weather, and make the oceans and rivers more acidic, thus potentially reducing the biodiversity of fish.

If smoke is not reduced, it will probably lead to more chaos than man can handle or recover from. Therefore finding a way to cook without necessarily emitting smoke is a big step for humanity, and for the planet.

Smokeless Stove For Home

Smokeless Stove Design

It is difficult to completely eliminate smoke from any combustion device, but emissions are significantly higher when the fuel is not efficiently burned. The major objective therefore, of a smokeless stove is to burn the fuel efficiently.

How does a smokeless stove achieve that?

Some smokeless stoves have a cylindrical design which seats the pot or pans directly on top of the burning fuel. The cylinder may then become narrower towards the top, making it a conical shape, or it may only have a small opening.

That small opening will then be completely covered by the pan, pot or kettle. By placing the cooking utensil on the stove, the user seals up the combustion chamber, making the stove virtually smokeless.

Smoke naturally rises up, and so by that natural action, and by the fact that its path to the air is blocked by the cooking utensil. There is usually an opening (or a series of openings) within the combustion chamber; but some designs only circulate the smoke downwards again within the body of the stove, where it can turn to soot. The operation of this kind of stove immediately sees a marked reduction in the smoke produced.

Smoke does not go out, but is funneled into the inlets near the top of the combustion chamber. It will then gather as soot.

Some designs do not stop there.

Smokeless Wood Stove With Fan

Air is necessary for combustion. This is why on observing excess smoke from the stoves, mothers usually blow air into it to increase the fire and reduce the smoke. Some designs of incorporate a system of blowing air into the stove to increase efficiency. They call this a forced draft, and it is usually supplied by a fan, and carried by a pipe into the combustion chamber, where it fans the flames.

The fan is usually powered by solar energy. Admittedly, this may drive up the cost of the product, but it greatly increases efficiency and the ease of use of the product. When the stove has air being blown into it automatically, the user only has to worry about ensuring that it has enough fuel, and also keeping an eye on what is cooking on the stove.

But if air is blown in, then air should be let out.

Image Credits:
Manmatha Roul
Taken From Researchgate.net
Link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/359937495_Design_and_development_of_smokeless_stove_for_a_sustainable_growth

Advanced Smokeless Stove With Air Control

An interesting design has been made by Indian engineers Ramesh Chandra Nayak, Manmatha Roul, and Prateek Debadarsi Roul. It involves controlling the emission from the stove by mixing it with steam from a built in water tank.

The steam then encompasses the smoke; making it unable to rise into the air as it ordinarily would.

The design is quite efficient; it takes care of everything. The constant flow of air into the stove, the outlet via which the air (smoke) is sent out of the stove, and everything else. The user only has to pay attention so that the stove does not run out of fuel.

Is It Available For Purchase?

There are many different designs of smokeless stoves in the market, but interestingly, the bulk of them are only available in developed markets where their use is only nominal. The most popular smokeless stoves in the market closely resemble that in Figure 1 above.

They are often made of steel, and are shaped as cylinders. However, smokeless stoves can also come in different shapes and sizes.

For those living in countries where e-commerce is well developed; there are many options to choose from. Purchases can be done online, and the product can be delivered to your doorstep.

Thankfully, there are startups that now produce smokeless stoves for sale in different parts of the world, including Africa and Asia where the need is greatest.

Solostove (United States)

Powerstove Energy (Nigeria)

Green Ker (Côte d’Ivoire)

Bioflame Smokeless Stove (India)

Those are the largest makers of smokeless stoves according to available information at the present time. However, there is a limitless number of DIY aficionados who have made, and who continue to make smokeless stoves following the principles highlighted in this post.

DIY smokeless stoves should be encouraged because the advantages of this type of technology to the health of the users, to humanity, and to the entire inhabitants of earth far outweigh any selfish claims of ownership of the technology.

What Kind Of Fuels Do They Use?

Smokeless stoves may use wood, saw dust, charcoal, coal, animal dung, or palm oil residue (palm mesocarp fiber) as fuel. This will depend on the type of fuel available in the particular area where they are being used.

Smokeless stoves can even use a combination of different fuels; they do not require any modification to any particular fuel.

Advantages Of Smokeless Stoves

Smokeless stoves are easy to use.

They do not produce smoke; which means they do not threaten the health their users.

Smokeless stoves do not pollute the air, nor do they accelerate the problem of global warming.

Disadvantages of Smokeless Stoves

Smokeless stoves still require the burning of biofuels; which means trees will still need to be cut down, or the environment will still need to be destroyed to fuel them.

They can be seen as a distraction in this age when the world is turning its attention to renewable energy.

For commercial applications they become too complicated. Businesses or industries will rather go for other alternatives.

Further Reading:

Closing

Smokeless stoves are good, but solar stoves are better. Smokeless stoves are mostly used for leisurely activities like camping in the west, but in the developing world they can be a lifesaver; coming to the rescue of entire communities.

When used in combination with solar stoves, they can provide much needed respite to the atmosphere, and can halt deforestation.

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