Wood Stoves for Cooking
Burning wood for heat and cooking has been used by humans for time immemorial. However, as the population of the world has increased so has the pressure on wood resources. Many areas, even regions within countries have been deforested not only by agriculture but as a source of fuel for heat and cooking. Even today there are about 3 billion people who cook their meals on fires fuelled by dung, wood, coal and other biomass material. According to a report by the World Health Organisation this form of cooking kills about 2 million people a year. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves was formed to improve health and environmental outcomes in developing countries and aims to mobilize donor commitments towards having 100 million homes with clean cookstoves.
Burning wood in an open fire is also very inefficient and much of the heat is lost which is very wasteful. Much effort over time has been spent trying to improve conventional wood stoves.
Micro gasifiers or ‘micro-gasification’ is a technology that works and is quite different to regular wood stoves and “the distinguishing characteristic of these and any other true gasiﬁers is that the creation of the gases (“smoke”) is separate from where the gases are combusted. Of crucial importance in these (and in any stoves) are the ﬂows of primary and secondary air. In the gasiﬁers, the ﬂows are separate. In most regular stoves, they are mixed. There are cases where the air ﬂows are partially mixed together in the quasi-gasiﬁers (semi-gasiﬁers or partial gasiﬁers)… (Micro-Gasiﬁcation: What it is and why it works, Anderson 2013).
Torrified biomass or ‘torrefaction‘ is another process that is currently being discussed and some companies are now producing equipment to make “bio-coal” which can be made into briquettes or pellets to burn in wood stoves. Wood fired systems for heating are classified differently and can be found under the wood furnace section.
Construct your own Wood Stove
If you would like to build your own wood stove make sure you check out the Gasifier Stove Design section where construction plans are available for download.
Buying Wood Stoves
There are a number of reasonably efficient small wood cooking stoves but these should not be confused with wood gasifier stoves. For this reason we have separated the stoves that can be purchased from many places into four categories:
1. Gasifier Wood Stoves – true gasifier wood stoves
2. Fan-jet Stoves – fan assisted and some units are almost gasifiers
3. Regular Wood Stoves – no gasification process involved
4. Charcoal Stoves – simply burn charcoal