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Work Update

[Work Update]: Fuel Fiji - Fuel II Goals - July 2018

Goal 1: Manufacture 1 new prototype and conduct user tests with 10 customers
Goal 2: Sell 10 Buka Stoves (3.0 model)
Goal 3: Gain feedback and validate learning from existing customers
Goal 4: Build 2 new payment options for customers (in collaboration with SoCon) 


Following the success of previous Fuel months, the project has been split into two teams. Fuel II will be focusing on a new prototype and sales, and the team has some massive goals to smash this month. One of the main issues identified by the previous months was the constraint on the design of the Buka stove. This design was an excellent MVP, using recycled refrigerant tanks from Fiji, and established some product-market fit. However, obvious issues such as unreliable supply, high labour and transport costs and difficulty emptying the tanks calls for a new design.


This leads to the first goal for Fuel II this month: Manufacture 1 new prototype and test with 10 customers. This will be achieved in close collaboration with Fuel Team I to ensure a secure supply chain and distribution network for the new stove design. Whether this is a rocket stove or similar, or it varies significantly from the current design, is to be determined early this month. Manufacturing options, whether locally or imported, will also be assessed.


One of the massive strengths of Fuel in Fiji is the demand for the product, with supply not being able to keep up over summer. While we want to refine the design and sell a better product, this sales momentum is also very important, leading to the second monthly goal to Sell 10 stoves and get feedback from existing customers. The feedback is one of the key components that will guide the direction for the new prototype design, and clarify the value proposition of our product with what we bring to customers. Truly and comprehensively understanding our product market fit will enable us to better organise the entire fuel project around the customers’ problems.


The third main goal for Fuel II is to Build 2 new payment options for customers. This has multiple benefits, the first being reducing the barrier to entry for customers who may not have enough disposable income to purchase a stove outright. Secondly, this reduces the resources required from the fuel teams to make sales and collect deposits, while then having to return to complete the sale and deliver the stove. There is also the exciting possibility of being able to collaborate with SoCon and use the stoves as credit for them to trial micro-financing. If this can work that would be amazing.


Finally, a side hustle for Fuel II is to assess the viability of a thermo-electric generator attached to the side of a stove that can supply electricity to charge a phone/battery or power a light. This is not a main priority for the month but would be awesome to get running at a demonstration level.

edited on 6th September 2018, 01:09 by Justin Hakeem

Wade Tink 11 months ago

Teich, looking forward to your prototype illustrated in upcoming posts.
To clarify, is your second goal of selling 10 Buka Stoves selling the current design stove or the new prototype?

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Alexander Teicher 11 months ago

Hey Tink, as we currently have 7 of the latest version in a saleable condition, and around 10-15 emptied refrigerant tanks, we will be looking to sell, and manufacture then sell, the remainder of these. This is partly contingent on receiving positive feedback from existing customers. There are some existing orders to be fulfilled and we are looking to get in contact with those customers in the first week to organise village visits/sales for them.

In regards to the new prototype my thoughts are leaning towards more of a demonstration model to assess how well customers respond to the new design and then iterate it from there. Due to no follow up month we will most likely be looking to prepare this design for summer teams rather than rush production to make sales this month.

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Wade Tink 11 months ago

Understood. Looking forward to the analysis of customer feedback given the time in use and also the new prototype.

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Wade Tink 11 months ago

Status label added: Work Update

Once Fuel I has posted their monthly goals this will form the basis of the longer project description.

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Haziq Ahmed 11 months ago

Hi Teich,

Really excited about the direction fuel is heading this month and looking forward to the goals both fuel teams will achieve. In terms of prototyping a new stove, are you planning to test the thermal characteristics of the stoves including the CO2, CO and soot give off as well as testing with 10 customers? If so, how are you proposing to do these tests?

Three main characteristics that need potential testing are; The time it takes to cook? The amount of firewood it uses to cook? and The amount of reduction in carbon oxides and soot?

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Alexander Teicher 11 months ago

Hey Hazi,
In terms of technical testing for the stove around emissions and particulate matter, we have not put a large emphasis on this. I know that this impacts our value prop regarding improved health and at the moment our focus is on feedback from existing customers to get qualitative data around their experience with the stove. This will heavily influence our new design, and once that is prototyped if we can source low cost testing options then may look into that.

However, one interesting point is that we want to clarify our value proposition and understand why customers are buying the stoves. From here the health benefits may be more of a hidden bonus as for the customer we are solving another problem for them that we are not fully aware of. Key new findings will be updated on Crowdicity in a new post.

There are plans to test cooking time against an open fire with some sort of briquette or standardised fuel source.

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Cris Birzer 11 months ago

Let's us know how we can help with testing.

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