Africa adopts the Chinese Charcoal Stove
- From: PaPaPeng <PaPaPeng@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 09:42:11 GMT
My interest started with a feature story in last Sunday's newspaper.
The Header said "STOVEPIPE DREAM - Rene Nunez Suarez thought his
revolutionary stove design would be a boon for the peasants of his
native land. So far it cost him his wife, his family and $2.5 million
- with little to show for his efforts.
Sr. Suarez si from San Salvador. A picture showed his stove in use.
There is four legged table-like platform with a (firewood?) box under
the center. Above the box is a stainless steel "stack" with a ring of
air holes around the top rim. The cooking pot sits on wire supports
attached to the top of the stack. The claims of efficiency, etc. are
very much like that described below in another article. Suarez's
stove needs a small electric fan to force a draft for combustion. It
had won a few design prizes and is patented. His contractor made that
for him for $325. Right away this price is a non starter, the
stainless steel construction and it requires electricity to run the
The need for a cheap efficient kitchen stove for the poor is still
valid and I recall reading in the New Scientist an article some 30
years ago about a British aid team in Kenya hat scoured the world for
solutions already in use. They found the Chinese clay stove. They
made a similar one out of local materials as described below and it
was a great success with the locals who used it.
A search of the Internet quickly produced this article.
[Photo/file: Look up the URL
and you will see the illustration that will be very familiar to
Chinese households that had used firewood or charcoal for cooking. I
go back far enough to remember my mother using them. These stoves
were cheap and the clay liner cracked after a few months use. I now
think its because the low temperature fired clay couldn't take the
weight of the pots. You won't find them in Chinese homes anymore.
But with luck you may see them in the restaurant kitchen. Actually
you can still see them (and even buy them) as boutique tabletop
teapot warmers for tea connoisseur. I am surprised Mr. Wei Tong
didn't recognize its Chinese origin
2007-08-17 Kenyan Portable Charcoal Stove Catches On in East Africa
Kenya Ceramic Jikos requires ceramic material and scrap metal.
Hello and welcome to this edition of Africa Express here on China
Radio International. I'm your host, Wei Tong
One of the eight Millennium Development Goals is to eradicate extreme
poverty and hunger by 2015. Of course, people not only need food to
fight hunger, but they also need the means by which to cook the food.
In Kenya, collaboration between the government, local women's
organizations, craftspeople and international aid agencies, has
produced portable stoves, the Kenya ceramic jikos, which are becoming
very popular in East Africa. One of the people involved in designing
these stoves, is Dan Kammen, an energy expert from the Berkeley
Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory in the United States. He
told UN Radio's Yasmine Soliman that more than a million of these
stoves have been sold in Kenya alone, and described some of their
Kammen: They are quite efficient. They burn thirty per cent or so less
fuel than a regular stove and it turns out the real interesting
benefit is that they produce significantly less pollution. And that's
a big deal because the number one cause of environmental illness in
many parts of the developing world, including East Africa is
respiratory illness from all the smoke exposure.
Yasmine: And how affordable is it?
Kammen: Well it's actually very affordable. The stove today cost about
two dollars each whereas an unimproved stove cost fifty cents to a
dollar and they are now available in essentially every East African
markets as well as in neighborhoods where people with push carts walk
around selling these stoves.
Yasmine: And how do you ensure sustainable that the local communities,
can they recreate them?
Kammen: It's a good question. They don't really ensure it in any way.
Early on when this was seen as a US aid funded project to this Kenyan
non-governmental organization, Kengo, the thought was that there will
be a centralized facility probably in Nairobi and few other cities
that would make these stoves and they would then be sold and the
companies set up would be accountable internationally, and sort of a
standard corporate model. But what evolved instead was a much more
informal process because the stove is so easy to make. But the design
matters critically for how efficient they are. Lots of informal sector
producers now make them. I think there is about a hundred different
manufacturers in Nairobi alone. The last time I was in Kampala there
were around fifteen different groups making for the Ugandan market.
Yasmine: And the material you can find actually in those countries, in
Kenya? I mean do you use material that's…?
Kammen: That's right. This stove is just made out of sheet metal which
is pounded in shape and then a ceramic inside that which is made of
clay. And there is a lay of vermiculite, of mica between the metal and
then the ceramic. All of those materials are local. The stoves
typically get built around malls and people just use tin snips and
clay making to put them together. So it is very very local material.
There is no high tech component.
Yasmine: And who uses these stoves?
Kammen: Pretty much anyone who cooks which, of course, in most of East
Africa means women. But urban families almost uniformly have these
stoves whether they are rich or poor. And in the rural areas then it
starts to fall off. But definitely in the urban settings you are
seeing every household tends to have one or more of these stoves in
Yasmine: Do you think it would empower women?
Kammen: Well to some extent. I mean it certainly doesn't free you from
the kitchen entirely but it does cut down on people's bills quite
significantly because they no longer need to spend as much money
buying charcoal and wood fuel and since savings on fuel purchases tend
to directly benefit women because they actually control much of the
household money. But no, it doesn't change you a slave to cooking to a
free spirit all by yourself.
That was Dan Kammen, an energy expert from the Berkeley Renewable and
Appropriate Energy Laboratory in the United States talking to UN
Radio's Yasmine Soliman about a new cooking utensils in Kenya, which
can cut down on people's bills and improve locals' living standards.
That brings us to the end of this edition of Africa Express. If you
would like to listen to this or other stories again, please log onto
our website at www.crienglish.com. You can also contact us via email
through africaexpress@xxxxxxxxxx I'm Wei Tong. I hope you can tune in
to our program next time. Bye for now!