Improved home air quality, more efficient fuel use, less soot, and useful biochar too, this simple new stove design sounds fantastic.

Biochar Cookstoves Boost Health for People and Crops

Cookstoves that can produce biochar, like the one pictured above in western Kenya, can be a key tool in fighting respiratory disease and boosting agricultural production

In addition to wood, the stove burns garden debris, dried animal dung, and food material such as dried corncobs and coconut husks. A family cooking a pot of beans will use 40 percent less wood with the Estufa Finca than with an open-fire stove,...

"In laboratory testing, these stoves reduced particulate matter emissions by 92 percent and the carbon monoxide emissions by 87 percent as compared to an open cooking fire," he said in an email. "These two are the big drivers of respiratory disease."

"[Women] reported that the reduction of smoke in the house decreased irritation of their and their children's eyes, runny noses, coughing, chest discomfort, and difficulties in breathing, along with cost savings due to fewer hospital visits,"...

"The real hook though, is the biochar," he said.

The group harvests water hyacinth, an invasive species in nearby Lake Victoria that can be dried and converted into fuel briquettes for the cookstoves.

SeaChar is developing an Urban Stove for use in homeless encampments in the Seattle area,...

Tags: biochar, improved cook stoves

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Replies to This Discussion

Bio-char is a completely ridiculous green washing of burning down forests to make energy. We need to nip this nasty shit pushed by the new bio-char (what a ridiculous name) in the butt as soon possible.

No to Bio-char!!!!!!!!!!!!

Might be true in some cases, but not if they are making it out of invasive weeds in a lake.

Wood isn't the only fuel used for cooking with these stoves.

In addition to wood, the stove burns garden debris, dried animal dung, and food material such as dried corncobs and coconut husks.

but those won't make a dent in our energy consumption, it's forests that are the aim, natural ones, but even more so artificial ones.

Kitchen ventilation turns out to be more important than costly new ...

Indoor pollution from biomass-burning cookstoves can be greatly reduced if the kitchen has two, opposite, open windows.

Up to now, most interventions have focused on improving the cookstove to lower emissions. And that would be fine, if there were enough improved cookstoves to go around. But there aren't. In 2012, only 2.5 million improved cookstoves were distributed, improving the household air pollution situation for exactly one-half of 1 percent of the world's biomass burners.

"The improved cookstoves, which are supposed to reduce emissions, actually made the air quality worse under completely enclosed conditions," she said. "In contrast, we saw the greatest reduction in ambient particulate matter and carbon monoxide with an improved cookstove and with windows and doors open."

They also learned that not all ventilation helps. "Having two windows open on opposite ends of the kitchen was best, whereas having all the windows and doors open was worse," Whelan said. "This is because having all outlets open creates turbulence inside the kitchen, and the smoke is not forced out." [emphasis mine]

So an interdisciplinary team of Michigan Technological University students took a different tack. They decided to look for ways to improve the cooking environment, not just the stove. And they found a low-cost, highly effective way to reduce the impact of cooking over biomass fires without designing and installing high-tech, costly stoves.

 

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