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Rocket stove

Rocket stove

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A rocket stove is an innovative clean and efficient cooking stove
Stove
A stove is an enclosed heated space. The term is commonly taken to mean an enclosed space in which fuel is burned to provide heating, either to heat the space in which the stove is situated or to heat the stove itself, and items placed on it...

 using small diameter wood fuel which is burned in simple high-temperature combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney
Chimney
A chimney is a structure for venting hot flue gases or smoke from a boiler, stove, furnace or fireplace to the outside atmosphere. Chimneys are typically vertical, or as near as possible to vertical, to ensure that the gases flow smoothly, drawing air into the combustion in what is known as the...

 which ensures complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface. The principles were described by Dr. Larry Winiarski from Aprovecho
Aprovecho
Aprovecho is the name of two non-profit organizations located in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center is a not-for-profit organization based in the vicinity of Cottage Grove, Oregon. Its focus is on sustainable living, including permaculture and renewable energy...

 in 1982 and stoves based on this design won Ashden Awards
Ashden Awards
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy are annual awards given by a charity of the same name that is based in London. They reward local sustainable energy projects in the UK and developing countries that protect the environment, and improve quality of life....

 in both 2005 and 2006. Interest in rocket stoves has led to the development of rocket mass heaters and other innovations.

Overview


A rocket stove achieves efficient combustion of the fuel at a high temperature by ensuring that there is a good air draft into the fire, controlled use of fuel, complete combustion of volatiles, and efficient use of the resultant heat. It has been used for cooking purposes in many third-world locales (notably Rwandan refugee camps) as well as for space and water heating.

A rocket stove's main components are:
  • Fuel magazine: Into which the unburned fuel is placed and from where it feeds into the combustion chamber
  • Combustion chamber
    Combustion chamber
    A combustion chamber is the part of an engine in which fuel is burned.-Internal combustion engine:The hot gases produced by the combustion occupy a far greater volume than the original fuel, thus creating an increase in pressure within the limited volume of the chamber...

    : At the end of the fuel magazine where the wood is burned
  • Chimney
    Chimney
    A chimney is a structure for venting hot flue gases or smoke from a boiler, stove, furnace or fireplace to the outside atmosphere. Chimneys are typically vertical, or as near as possible to vertical, to ensure that the gases flow smoothly, drawing air into the combustion in what is known as the...

    : A vertical chimney above the combustion chamber to provide the updraft needed to maintain the fire
  • Heat exchanger
    Heat exchanger
    A heat exchanger is a piece of equipment built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another. The media may be separated by a solid wall, so that they never mix, or they may be in direct contact...

    : To transfer the heat to where it is needed, i.e. the cooking pot.


The fuel magazine can be horizontal where additional fuel will be added manually or vertically for automatic feeding of fuel. As the fuel burns within the combustion chamber convection draws new air into the combustion chamber from below ensuring that any smoke from smoldering wood near to the fire is also drawn into the fire and up the chimney. The chimney can be insulated to maximize the temperature and improve combustion, according to studies this will increase efficiency by up to two percent more.In a rocket mass heater the heat is passed into a suitable heat exchanger to ensure the efficient use of the generated heat.

For cooking purposes the design keeps the cooking vessel in contact with the fire over the largest possible surface area a pot skirt can be used to create a narrow channel which forces hot air and gas to flow along the bottom and sides of the cooking vessel. Optional baffles guide hot air and flame up the sides of the pot. For space heating purposes the heat is transferred to a heat store which can in some cases be part of the structure of the house itself. The exhaust gasses then pass out of the building via the chimney.

The design of stove means that it can operate on about half as much fuel as a traditional open fire and can use smaller diameter wood.If they are insulated and raised from the floor this reduces the danger of children burning themselves. Some more recent designs are self feeding using gravity to add fuel to the fire as required.

History


A precursor to the rocket stove was the argand lamp
Argand lamp
The Argand lamp is home lighting oil lamp producing a light output of 6 to 10 candlepower which was invented and patented in 1780 by Aimé Argand...

 which was patented in 1780. This was a major development of the traditional oil lamp
Oil lamp
An oil lamp is an object used to produce light continuously for a period of time using an oil-based fuel source. The use of oil lamps began thousands of years ago and is continued to this day....

 which introduced a glass chimney above the flame to increase air-flow. As well as being used for lighting, this design was also used for cooking and heating water due to its 'affording much the strongest heat without smoke'.

Dr. Larry Winiarski, now Technical Director of Aprovecho
Aprovecho
Aprovecho is the name of two non-profit organizations located in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center is a not-for-profit organization based in the vicinity of Cottage Grove, Oregon. Its focus is on sustainable living, including permaculture and renewable energy...

, began developing the Rocket Stove in 1980 based on a VITA stove, designed by Sam Baldwin, using the systems developed by the Romans in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocaust hypercaust heating and cooking systems. and invented the principles of the Rocket stove in 1982. TWP and AHDESA were winners at the Ashden Awards
Ashden Awards
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy are annual awards given by a charity of the same name that is based in London. They reward local sustainable energy projects in the UK and developing countries that protect the environment, and improve quality of life....

 for Sustainable Energy in 2005 in the 'Health and Welfare' category for their work in Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 with the 'Justa Stove' which is based on principles of the rocket stove. Aprovecho were winners of the Special Africa Award at the Ashden Awards in 2006 for their work with rocket stoves for institutional cooking in Lesotho
Lesotho
Lesotho , officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclave, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is just over in size with a population of approximately 2,067,000. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name...

, Malawi
Malawi
The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size...

, Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

, Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 and Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

.

Types of stove



Cooking stove


The rocket stove was originally developed for cooking purposes where a relatively small amount of heat is required on a continuous basis which is applied to the bottom and sometimes also the sides of the cooking pot. Stoves can be constructed from brick, old tin cans, steel or be purchased.

Rocket Stoves are found more commonly in the third world
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

 countries where wood fuel sources are more scarce but it has been introduced in the United States in the recent years. Some of them are small for portability with insulation inside a double-walled design with a chamber for partial biomass gasification and additional mixing to increase BTUs and provide a cleaner, more complete burn. The advantage of these rocket stoves is the very little fuel they need, such as wood and dry weeds, to be able to cook a whole meal with it, keeping the air more clean with less hydrocarbons.

Space heater


The rocket mass heater uses the rocket stove principle within a system designed to both heat air directly and also to transfer much of the heat from the flue gasses into a thermal energy storage
Thermal energy storage
Thermal energy storage comprises a number of technologies that store thermal energy in energy storage reservoirs for later use. They can be employed to balance energy demand between day time and night time. The thermal reservoir may be maintained at a temperature above or below that of the...

, often made of cobb. Described in detail in 2006, these heaters are becoming popular in DIY builders, natural building
Natural building
A natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while...

s and within permaculture
Permaculture
Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that is modeled on the relationships found in nature. It is based on the ecology of how things interrelate rather than on the strictly biological concerns that form the foundation of modern agriculture...

 systems.

Water heater


Rocket stoves can be used to heat water via a heat exchanger which transfers heat to a body of water in a nearby container.

See also


  • Air-tight stove
  • Beverage-can stove
    Beverage-can stove
    A beverage-can stove is a homemade, ultralight portable stove. The simple design is made entirely from aluminium cans and burns alcohol. Countless variations on the basic design exist....

  • Franklin stove
    Franklin stove
    The Franklin stove is a metal-lined fireplace named after its inventor, Benjamin Franklin. It was invented in 1741.L.W. Labaree, W. Bell, W.B. Willcox, et al., eds., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin , vol. 2, page 419...

  • Hobo stove
    Hobo stove
    A hobo stove is a style of improvised heat-producing and cooking device used in survival situations, by backpackers, hobos, tramps and homeless people...

  • Portable stove
    Portable stove
    A portable stove is a cooking stove specially designed to be portable and lightweight, as for camping or picnicking, or for use in remote locations where an easily transportable means of cooking or heating is needed...

  • Reverse-process stove
    Reverse-process stove
    The reverse-process indoor wood burning stove is a non-catalytic airtight heater. Employing a unique reverse process whereby it not only draws exterior air in to the wood stove for combustion, thus eliminating interior drafts, it also releases fresh outside air into the room through a rear-mounted...

  • Kelly Kettle
  • Lo Trau
    Lo Trau
    Lò Trấu is a type of versatile fuel burning cook stove used in Vietnam since the 1950s.- Etymology:The name Lo Trau Lò Trấu is a type of versatile fuel burning cook stove used in Vietnam since the 1950s.- Etymology:The name Lo Trau Lò Trấu is a type of versatile fuel burning cook stove used in...

     cook stove
  • BioLite cook stove


Further reading

  • Bilger, Burkhard. “Hearth Surgery - The quest for a stove that can save the world”. The New Yorker, 21 and 28 December 2009. Pages 84 to 97.

External links