Project Everest

Work Update

Cook stove Testing - Suggestions welcome!

Krystal Kennedy
Krystal Kennedy | Jul 19, 2017 | in Knowledge Base

Having decided upon our course of action through the ideation feasibility matrix, the fuel assessment team spent a decent amount of time brainstorming how we were going to get a MVP up and running. Since we were running on a time crunch, as well as operating on a limited budget, improvisation was required.

While in town on a resource run, our team members ran into a guy who knew a guy who basically does everything (including fix refrigerators - Jimmy, we still have his number). After some haggling, material scavenging and a day at his workshop, we had our Rocket stove MVP, refer to image below.

We have put our graffiti skills to the test and spray painted the stove an elegant black with the PE logo in white using a cardboard stencil, courtesy of Erik and his trusty scalpel. This was following the orders of our lovely TL who declared:

‘Let’s brand the f*** out of this’.

The current tests being performed on the stove, considering our limited resources, are an in house water boiling test and a test to determine how long it takes to cook cassava (a Fijian staple food). The reasoning behind this is that our prototype should match the performance of the currently used two stone stove, but require less firewood (more energy efficient), release less smoke (reducing the harmful medical impacts of firewood) and retain the desired smoky flavour in the food. A visual test on the colour and amount of smoke produced was also suggested by Cris Birzer, a Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Energy Engineering at the University of Adelaide.

The team would like to ask if you have any ideas on potential tests that would be beneficial to perform on the cook stove within the remaining days while in country, considering the limited access to resources?

Note: The fuel team will be returning to the inland villages this Thursday and Friday to introduce the cook stove to the villagers and to continue empathising.


Ciaran Hoare Jul 21, 2017

How easy is it to break?
How will it break?
How can someone tell if it's broken?
What do they do if it's broken?
Can it be fixed or does it need to be replaced?

Basically just see how durable it is.
Also test it's safety when being used by customers relative to the safety of their current method.

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Krystal Kennedy Jul 24, 2017

Hi Ciaran,

Determining durability of our cookstove is on our minds and is intended to be tested in controlled conditions, potentially at the University of Adelaide. This is in conjunction with other tests to quantify fuel efficiency and how the stove performs in standardised cooking tests since we do not have the equipment nor time to do so in country. However, after a couple days in village and various batches of grilled pineapple, it is so far so good. The recycled cylinder used in our design is in itself quite strong so we do expect our stove to satisfy the durablity aspect.

When returning to the villages, safety of the cookstove was also at the forefront of our minds. Due to the presence of an inner combustion chamber, the surrounding temperature of the cookstove is significantly lower than at its centre, meaning that much of the heat is insulated by the outer layer. Not only this, the flame is contained. This is definitely safer than current 3 stone stove which entails a naked flame heating a pot, resulting in more smoke with little protection from the heat.

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Vince Kostiono Jul 23, 2017

Are the stoves going to be produced in the local villages or is there a central village where the production can take place? I am thinking along the line of "how easy/cheap it is to get these stoves to the villagers?"

Is it also possible to do a live test to see the amount of emission (indoor air pollution level)? Good work on reducing the amount of fuel usage and air pollution, but I am very curious about how much reduction in air pollution.

Keep up the good work! :)

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Krystal Kennedy Jul 24, 2017

Hi Vince,

We have been discussing production of the stove and at the moment, we are leaning toward production or at least assembly to be done locally i.e. in Fiji. However the specifics of this are yet to be determined as more information needs to be gathered and costs calculated.

Given the remote nature of many of the inland villagers, we are looking into eventually selling the cookstove in local markets e.g. Sigatoka market. We found that many of the villagers frequent the Sigatoka market at least monthly if not multiple times per week to sell produce from their farms. Many had also confirmed that they would be willing to go to Sigatoka market to purchase the cookstove.

In regards to testing emissions, we intend for further testing to be carried out on the stove in a controlled environment given that in country, we neither have the time nor resources to do so.

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Pat McGrath Jul 24, 2017

We found that the National University of Timor-Leste (UNTL) was working on a pretty interesting idea that used waste oil and compressed air for fuel in a cookstove. The study they did showed that it produced half the CO2 as traditional woodstoves and boiled a litre of water 7 minutes faster. The waste oil can be taken from mechanics workshops and sold from there which should help stimulate the local economy while reducing CO2 use and deforestation.

It's still in the early stages of development in terms of efficiency and safety, but is that something that could interest the Fiji fuel assessment?

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Krystal Kennedy Jul 24, 2017

Hi Pat,

That is an intriguing idea and has potential in the future.

For our team, we focused on a high efficiency woodstove as not only is firewood plentiful, Fijians love the smoky flavour of the food. The difficulty in regards to fuel is during the wet season where firewood is more difficult to use - this is when kerosene stoves are used as an alternative.

While we are currently looking into charcoal briquettes as an alternate fuel, further research by following teams can be done on alternate fuels such as the waste oil and compressed air.

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Vince Kostiono Jul 28, 2017

I am very curious about this myself. Is there a design blueprint of some sort that you can share? I tried googling it but I either got waste oil burner heater, forge, or (still very smoky) rocket stove.

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Andrew Vild Sep 14, 2017

Status changed to Previous Work
Activity has died off on this thread and so we are working on slimming down ideas for the upcoming activity.

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