I tend to go on binges of interest. Some of them are persistent over very long times, coming and going, but always returning. For a variety of reasons, stoves is one of those. They are useful, I’ve always had an interest in fire – what with being a Smith and Dad showing me early how to work metals in fire, they are a major determinant of fuel consumption – especially in 3rd world countries, and they are important for survival / camping. Some of them are interesting technical creations too, so the Engineering side of the brain keeps wanting to look them over.
So here are a couple of interesting links. At least one of them was the result of someone saying “Look at this”, but I don’t remember who. So h/t to whomever it was and take a bow. ( I looked in the last two “tips” postings but could not find it. Likely it was on some other page as o/t.)
First off, my major “go to” link for interesting things about camping stoves. More reviews and designs that even I can make, buy, or use. Zen stoves.
They have a bare bones presentation that is minimalist, and that I really like. But what else would you expect of Zen?
They also have things like international names for fuels that explains things like in the USA paraffin is a wax, while in much of the ROW it is kerosene. Important to know in a following link that looks at a ‘paraffin’ stove… Here’s an example of their stuff:
THE CAT FOOD CAN ALCOHOL STOVE
(A Lightweight version of the Tuna Can Stove)
Roy L. “TrailDad” Robinson
The original tuna can stove hiked with me along the Pacific Crest Trail last year (1999) for over 1500 miles, from Donner Pass near Lake Tahoe to Manning Park, British Columbia. It served me well for almost three months, heating water for soup, cooking dinners and warming the occasional morning cocoa without any problems or failures.
This new, lightweight version of my stove was introduced at ADZPCTKOP2, (i.e., the Second Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off Party,) at Lake Morena. It wasn’t the prettiest or the lightest stove there but it did boil one cup of water the fastest in 2 minutes, 24 seconds. Like the original tuna can alcohol stove, it will bring two cups of water to a boil in about 5 minutes, has no moving parts and will fit inside your cook pot. Unlike the original, the new cat food can stove weighs just 1.6 ounces including the stand and windscreen. To save space, let’s just call it the Cat Stove.
The full link has an animated graphic at the top that is tasteful and not offensive (unlike most animated things). The article goes on to give full materials list, fabrication instructions, and more. Photos included. You can spend hours (days?) looking over various stoves in the DIY section and reading performance comparisons in the commercial section. If you are thinking of getting a camping stove, or a “preparedness” stove, read there before buying. It will save you from collecting a couple of dozen stoves like someone I know ;-)
Save 80 (percent of wood fuel)
Usually when talking about 3rd world stoves, the discussion is all about rocket stoves. Efficient and very cheap to make, often from local materials, but also often brick or ceramic so large, heavy, and often immobile. But literally dirt cheap, since they are often made from dirt / clay mud; and cut wood use significantly. I even took a try at designing one that could be made in the field from bricks left over post earthquake knocking down buildings (that would be useful right now in Nepal…)
This link has a different approach. It looks like a very high tech stainless steel design, with a matched cooking pot and insulated slow cooker surround. Nice. Very nice. Yet still simple enough it can be made cheaply.
Fact Sheet of the Highly Efficient Stove Save80 ®
The name “Save80” means that an experienced person can save 80% of the firewood consumption of a traditional open fireplace (3-stone-fire). The “Save80” needs around 250 g of dry firewood to bring 6 litres of water to the boil.
Nominal effective thermal power: 1.5 kW
Pot capacity: 8 litres
Recommended pot content: 6 litres
The interior parts of “Save80” are made of stainless steel to ensure a life-span of many years, high efficiency and burning at high temperatures for complete combustion with low emission of smoke.
Time for bringing 6 litres of water to the boil: about 25 minutes
The supply of air is regulated automatically by the design of the cooker.
“Save80” is not affected by the wind.
They have thought this system out well. Large enough for a family meal, so you don’t need more than one for a group. Durable. Wind screening built in, with fitted pan, so heat is highly efficient. Uses an underused fuel source (small bits). But then they took it another important step. They made a highly insulated (and also durable) jacket into which the pot can be placed. So you bring it to the boil, then put it in the jacket and just let it sit. This saves a lot of labor tending the pot and the fire.
Fact Sheet of the Heat Retaining Box Wonderbox ®
The “Wonderbox” is used for cooking with retained heat and for conserving high temperature of the content for many hours. It is suited to the 8-litre-pot (with lid) of “Save80”. After 2 hours the temperature of 6 litres of water will decrease from 100°C to about 90°C; after 12 hours the temperature is still above 65°C.
The “Wonderbox” can save more than half of the firewood consumption, in addition to the saving by the “Save80”. The material of the “Wonderbox” is specially designed for the heat retaining of food and water, up to the boiling point and has a life-span of years (no polystyrene).
Manufacturing information: Mass production has started; capacity of production can be adapted in a short time to any quantity needed
So it saves another half on fuel use. That 250 gm that boiled the water is now all you need to do, the rest of it is carryover cooking heat.
They then go on to include a couple of examples of meals / cooking.
Examples for Using Save80 ®
in Combination with Wonderbox ®
(According to the experience of cooking instructor Imma Seifert, Neuötting)
Note: The higher the amount of cooked water or food in the 8 litre-pot, the larger is the percentage of firewood saved by “Save80” and “Wonderbox”
l 5 litres of water, 800 g rice
Bring the water (with a teaspoonful of salt) to the boil by “Save80” and add the rice. Boil it up and place the pot with lid into the heat retaining box. The rice is ready after 30 minutes in the “Wonderbox”.
Fire wood consumption: about 250 g
Dried Vegetables (Beans, Peas, Lentils)
l 4,5 litres of water, 1 kg dried vegetables
Add the dried vegetables to the cold water, without salt and bring it to the boil by the “Save80”. Boil up and put the pot with lid into the “Wonderbox”. After about 2 hours the peas, beans or lentils are cooked. Season only at the end. Soak the beans (especially large beans) overnight in cold water.
The “Wonderbox” saves all the labour usually connected with the time and firewood consuming cooking of dried vegetables. The pot remains in the box without supervision and without any fire burning.
Firewood consumption: about 250 g
Even though I’m not their target demographic, I find myself wanting one. Post quake or post hurricane I’d be able to cook a lot of meals just based on a couple of 2 in x 6 in x 4 ft boards in the junk pile. Then that “boil, put in the box, and walk away” is a very nice feature when you are trying to put up a tent next to your rubble pile that was a house… The “8 litre” is a bit large for a family of 2, but then again, odds are post disaster “friends” will show up, so a larger size is likely a good thing. (After the Loma Prieta quake we had about 4 or 5 guests, as we had electricity and they didn’t… so we had a wine and cheese party… Never let a disaster go to waste! ;-)
I have no idea what prices are, or how to get only one. (They talk about how many fit in a shipping container…) But this is the kind of thing that can save a forest in a 3rd world country, while saving sight and health of a village of women. Just well done.
When Is Paraffin Not Paraffin?
This stove is a DIY design that was, from the get go, designed to be easy to make, work efficiently, and be incredibly cheap while staying safe and effective. To me, it shows exactly what Engineering is all about. Doing the most possible with the least of what you have available.
The FSP Stove was developed by Crispin Pemberton-Pigott for the Free State Technikon in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The design criteria were:
– A fabrication cost of $3.50 or less
– A CO/CO2 ratio of less than 2%
– It must be able to be manufactured in the typical low-income townships surrounding South African towns
The problems faced by paraffin stove users around the world are legion. Most of the devices in use are known to have a tendency to explode, or to make a loud *BANG* every now and then. They are notorious for their emission of carbon monoxide (CO) due to incomplete combustion of the fuel. Many thousands of people die each year in fires caused by paraffin and paraffin stoves. People continue to use them in large numbers because of a lack of alternatives at a suitable cost.
Thus it was agreed that this technology will be in the public domain insofar as the basic unit is concerned. It was agreed between the FS Technikon and the developer that the technology resulting from the project was, upon reflection, so fundamental an improvement that it should be immediately spread around the world as quickly as possible. For that reason you will find (eventually) on this website complete plans for making and operating a Free State Paraffin (FSP) stove.
Note the attention to Carbon Monoxide production? And that price! $3.50 or less. Yet it isn’t some soda can kludge. Hit the link to look at the photos. It’s a very well thought out and effective device. And yes, I’d like to buy one of these too ;-) But don’t have the time to make one…
One of the pictures is captioned:
“A 3 Kilowatt FSP stove made by Ludrick Barnard. It can boil 1.7 litres of cold water in 7 minutes. This picture will be released after the 5th of November 2004.”
Since the small burner on my electric stove is a 2 kW (more or less), this is more like the big burner in speed and capacity. That’s a heck of a nice performance. The fuel is pressurized by the simple expedient of hanging a bottle higher than the stove. The picture shows a 2 L Coke bottle as a lowest cost option. Minimalist and elegant while reusing otherwise waste materials.
Here is their picture of the stove:
You can see that it is a simple to fabricate basic design, but well designed to be made with common materials.
That’s All Folks
So that’s it for this posting. A few views of different approaches to minimalist stoves. Mine for “post aw-shit” fabrication from debris. The shop made kerosene stove as a DIY 3rd world option – BYOP bring your own pots. And an integrated stove / pot / slow cook insulator design for use by families in a day to day setting where wood is the only fuel, and designed to conserve not just the wood, but the labor of the folks as well. Along with a link to a place with more DIY stoves and reviews of commercial stoves than you could ever need.
So many things you can do with simple stoves.