Wood or charcoal - which is better?
J.D. Keita is Regional Forestry Officer at the FAO Regional Office for Africa, Accra, Ghana.
FAO (Unasylva 157-158)

The CRAB Stove (Henson Charcoal Rice And Bean Cooker)
Lanny Henson, October 21, 2006

The CRAB Stove (Henson Charcoal Rice And Bean Cooker)The CRAB Stove (Henson Charcoal Rice And Bean Cooker)

The CRAB Stove a low cost metal charcoal stove by Lanny Henson.

CRAB Stove- The Henson Charcoal Rice And Bean Cooker cooks, serves and holds. It is efficient and saves up to 75% on fuel. It is inexpensive, easy to build and easy to use, just light it and forget it. Only 150 grams of charcoal cooks 5 kilograms of rice. That is about ¼ the UCB Water Boiling Test Benchmark of 600 grams for charcoal.

The CRAB Stove only needs 175 grams of charcoal cooks 5 liters of pintos for 2 hours, or boil and simmers 5 liters of water/stew.

It functions three ways, it cooks, it serves, it holds.

Maputo Ceramic Stove Images August 23, 2006
Crispin Pemberton-Pigott, New Dawn Engineering, August 23, 2006

Crispin has provided us with the following images of his new MCS 200 stove.

MCS 200 Profile ViewMCS 200 Profile View

MCS 200 Top ViewMCS 200 Top View

MCS 200 Top View Grate OutMCS 200 Top View Grate Out

MCS 200 Bottom View No GrateMCS 200 Bottom View No Grate

MCS 200 Bottom View 9 Hole Grate200 Bottom View 8 Web 9 Holes

MCS 200 11 Hole vs 9 HoleMCS 200 11 Hole vs 9 Hole

MCS 200 1150C vs 800CMCS 200 1150C vs 800C

MCS 200 1160 Hold vs 1150MCS 200 1160 Hold vs 1150
MCS 200 - 2 After 2 Hr Test BurnMCS 200 - 2 After 2 Hr Test Burn

Note: Click images to enlarge

Glazed Maputo Ceramic Stove
Crispin Pemberton-Pigott, New Dawn Engineering, August 23, 2006

Glazed Maputo Ceramic StoveGlazed Maputo Ceramic Stove

Click to enlarge image

Dear Friends

This is a picture of a glazed MCS 200 (200 mm in diameter) which was made this week in Maputo.

The idea is that the stove should not look 'like a ceramic stove' but more like a casserole or a serving dish, something perhaps one would find in a kitchen rather than out in a shed.

First test of the Maputo Ceramic Stove
Crispin Pemberton-Pigott, New Dawn Engineering, August 20, 2006


Note: click image to enlarge.

Dear Friends

I have completed a test of the first fully formed Maputo Ceramic Stove (MCS) with 3 litres of water and initially a bit more than 300 gm of charcoal. The unit in the pictures is the final version.

The test was done without any skirt or under-tray to improve efficiency, just a pot and lid sitting on a simple stove.

The water boiled in exactly 30 minutes even though the stove body was wet from being washed (oops).

The specific fuel consumption calculated on the basis of water remaining at the time of boiling (good idea) and water remaining at the end of the simmer (something I think is weird) is:

48 gm per litre of water boiled
16.5 gm per litre simmered at 1 degree below the local boiling point for 45 minutes.

This translates into about 324 gm to boil and simmer 5 litres of water, depending on how you calculate it.

The stove was easy to use. I closed the air hole when it boiled and otherwise did not touch anything at any time.

There was more than 140 gm of charcoal left in the stove at the end of the test. This means it had too much in it to begin with. I was unable to get the temperature to drop below almost the boiling point so I think if it was done again with perhaps 200 or 250 gm of fuel it would come out with a better figure.

The stove in the photos will cost about $3 to manufacture profitably. The material is very low thermal expansion PK11 clay mix fired at 1150 degrees. The whole stove weighs 2230 grammes. The material cost about US$0.40. The grate is removable. The two parts can be formed in a manual press like the Ring Maker.

Design of a Crushing and Agglomeration Process for Manufacturing Bagasse Charcoal
Victoria Y. Fan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, D-Lab, (Amy Smith) June 2006


In Haiti, wood and wood charcoal are common fuels for cooking. This practice has contributed to deforestation, leading to erosion and fatal floods. The availability of charcoal made from a different source other than wood, such as agricultural waste, might provide Haitians with an alternative, more sustainable fuel, which in turn may reduce fuel prices. MIT students have developed various methods for producing charcoal out of simple inexpensive devices. In a current manufacturing process, carbonized bagasse is crushed to a powder, then mixed and agglomerated with yucca binder into balls. A novel method may reduce operator exposure and inhalation of charcoal fines by keeping primary manufacturing phases in the oil drum and reducing the operational steps of transferring the material from one location to another. The goal of this thesis was to understand, test, and optimize the parameters of this novel crushing and agglomeration process. The final prototype was found to effectively crushing charcoal and mix charcoal with binder to some extent, while being an inexpensive alternative to reduce overall charcoal exposure. However, the mixing and agglomeration was not sufficiently uniform and further designs should be considered to increase uniformity of mixing of binder and charcoal.


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