Thursday, August 21, 2008

Building a Firewood Saving Stove

In Kiwangala the majority of the village can only afford to cook on firewood or coal. Recently, collecting firewood has hurt the area's environment. The primary 7 class has built a firewood saving stove at headmaster Moses Kiwala’s home as a demonstration to the community. They have designed the stove out of bricks and clay so that wood burns more efficiently.

Below is a description of how CSH built their model stove:

This is a tea kettle set to boil in the existing cooking area. It was not much more than a campfire.

The students first dug a shallow pit, six inches deep, adjacent to the wall of the cooking wall. The depression was three feet long by two feet wide; the expected area that the stove would sit upon. Bricks were then stacked into place to create the general shape of the stove.

The new stove has two top burners for sauce pans. A passage way connecting the two opennings allows heat to circulate within the stove. There is also a small ventilation hole poked into the back wall that also promotes heat flow.

This is the hole where firewood is fed lengthwise one piece at a time into the stove. The bricks retain the heat so very little wood has to be burned for the stove to get hot.

Local clay was mixed in water and then used as mortar to fasten the bricks permanantly into place. Then the entire stove was covered and sealed with the leftover clay. The stove had to dry for about a week before it was ready to be used. However, that didn't stop the Primary 7 class from celebrating immediately after construction was complete.

Uganda's Ministry of Energy has also produced several good designs for firewood saving stoves. You can find them here.

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