thermal appliances for the poor
February 20, 2008 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Turbo stove busts the inventor. A handy stove that promises to save remaining forests can me made simply and cheaply for people who cook indoors with gathered wood. Others show how to make it yourself.
posted by Brian B. (10 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Oops, "can be made..."
posted by Brian B. at 7:11 PM on February 20, 2008

Amazing idea.
posted by nola at 7:20 PM on February 20, 2008

We use a cast-iron wood stove as supplemental heat to a geothermal system. Modern stoves, even non-catalysing ones, are just amazingly efficient even though they look very old-fashioned. When a conventional blackiron stove is working at peak efficiency it is doing exactly what these folk are making theirs do, except instead of a powered blower you are using the natural draft of the chimney.

It's really staggering how much heat wood puts out when it is properly harnessed. Our quite small woodstove will heat three or four thousand square feet with ease.
posted by unSane at 7:29 PM on February 20, 2008

Interesting post, thanks. I'd only mention briefly the irony of posting about an inventor going broke because he can't sell his invention, by including a link on how to make his invention at home.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:51 PM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm not quite sure I'm understanding the concept. In the second link, they seem to be discussing "downdraft" stoves, where (assumedly) the air is drawn down through the burning material, against the direction it would normally go. This is pretty interesting and I've never seen anything quite like it.

But the stove in the third link, made out of the steel thermos bottle, seems to be working by blowing air up through the combustion chamber. This latter design seems just like any wood stove in the world that has a blower attached to it. It also seems like it might lead to small bits of cinders and debris being blown up and out of the stove, once you start to burn the fuel down to ashes -- something you'd have to be careful of so you don't start an unwanted fire.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:03 PM on February 20, 2008

As I read it, the downdraft is describing the moving pyrolysis zone that burns the fuel, the gases moving up from the bottom and out.

However, since hot gases naturally rise, it is necessary to supply power to draw the gases DOWN through the gasifier. In 1985 we developed the "inverted downdraft gasifier" (also called "upside downdraft", top lighted, or charcoal making gasifier) shown in Fig. 1. The name comes from the fact that the fuel charge is lit ON THE TOP, and forms a layer of charcoal there; the flaming pyrolysis zone is below that; the unburned fuel is on the bottom of the pile, and primary air for pyrolytic gasification enters at the bottom and moves UP, forming gas in the flaming pyrolysis zone, as shown in Fig. 1. It can operate on either natural or forced draft.1,2,3

The stove in the first link maybe slightly different as to how it stacks its fuel and burns it.
posted by Brian B. at 8:58 PM on February 20, 2008

I have to confess a certain sad sort of admiration for someone who believes in his solution to a perceived problem so much that s/he will literally sacrifice everything to make it a reality. It's really a shame that our world doesn't work in altruistic ways.
posted by pjern at 9:18 PM on February 20, 2008

That last link would do really well in the Science Fair thread.
posted by mosk at 12:57 AM on February 21, 2008

as soon as I saw the word stainless, I knew this couldn't be easily or cheaply made. A cheap, simple thing that does work: the Upesi.
posted by scruss at 7:51 AM on February 21, 2008

Eh, stainless isn't a problem. It's the size of a thermos, it shouldn't be too bad. Also, the local government may see fit to subsidize them to stop deforestation.
posted by electroboy at 12:51 PM on February 21, 2008

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