Charity No 1090727 Malawi Charity
No CONGOMA C159/2003 & NGO/R/05/08
Together Helping Does Make a Difference
With no access to electricity or gas and the rising cost and
scarcity of solid fuel, (wood) in both the semi urban and
rural areas we need to consider a number of alternatives to
meet the growing need for fuel for cooking and water heating.
The normal way of heating in these areas is done outside using
wood on an open fire, wood is supplemented
by dried maize husks following the harvest. Depending
on the level of income
in the house hold charcoal burner are also used inside during
the wet season.
Picture Left: Charcoal Stove
Picture Right: Traditional Cooking
of Foods: The basic diet of the rural population
consists of Sima, (Maize porridge
or paste), ground and root vegetables, ground nuts, (Peanuts)
seasonal fruit including sugar cane also termites, mice and
small mammals when the opportunity arises. As we move up the
scale, rice, bread, beans, chick peas, eggs, sugar and small
fish are added. There is then quite a jump before livestock
meats are part of their diet, chicken and goats being the main
ones, rabbits and pigeons are less common, beef is normally
only found in the built up areas. Dairy products including milk
are virtually non existent in their diet, though some dried
milk products are available. Water and tea are the principle
drinks, but may be supplemented with various local brews both
alcoholic and non alcoholic on special occasions, either sorghum
or maize based. Ovens and grilles are virtually unheard of;
most things are boiled or fried.
Enterprise: There are
a number of small scale home based production enterprises making
Mandasi, (Drop scones) and roasted peanuts for sale.
to the type cooking and meal times, the main meals being breakfast
and early evening, (It gets dark around six pm) the use of
solar cookers and ovens may have limited application during
the dry season, but I have seen no instances of their use.
Due to relative expense of solar heaters, wind turbines and
solar panels these are not used in the home, but a number
of NGOís and government facilities use solar water heaters.
Note it is generally felt that there is insufficient wind
to justify windmills or turbines. We must also exclude the
use of Bricquettes made from paper
or other fibers as there is little or no access to the raw
materials and what limited production there is in the towns
means the finished product is too expensive to be considered
for rural areas.
Picture Right Above: †Solar Water Heater at Mulanje Mountain Conservation Facility
Rocket stoves seem to be the next logical step, but even though
the technology has been known for over a hundred years the basic
principles seem to have passed Malawi
by. Rocket stoves are potentially many times more efficient
than burning wood in an open hearth and also have the added
benefit of burning with virtually no smoke.†
One of the hazards of burning on an open fire is smoke
inhalation which causes health hazards. Some minor disadvantages
of the rocket stoves are the wood has to be very dry and slender,
some additional work is required to obtain the correct wood
size and a dry storage area is required. Rocket_Stove
simplest design of a stove is an elbowed tube, with a raised
platform for the fire. The pot is in the flow of heat being
generated from the fire. The lining of the tube, (fire box)
is normally of heat resistant material, (Fire brick) to
raise the temperature in the heating zone and retard the
heat transfer into the body of the stove which may be made
of an assortment of materials.
Many stove designs can be found on the web, but most of them
require expensive, (valuable) materials such as tin cans,
fire bricks metal sheeting and gauze all of which are available,
but are out of reach of most of the rural community. The challenge
is to produce a design that uses local materials and can be
reproduced on a semi commercial basis.† There are also on the web stove designs that
use nothing more than mud and these work very well but donít
lend themselves to being produced semi commercially.
on picture of stove above to down load a 3D interactive image
Pots: If we first look at the cooking pot, there are many
types and sizes but the most commonly used are traditionally
made clay pots or commercially produced metal pots. Note even
at the three stones and open fire level the situation for slow
cooking/boiling could be improved at a stroke by providing lids
for the pots. The most common size of pot used is 265 mm diameter,
(May vary slightly depending on local producer) which is approximately
the same size as a large pot normally found in the UK kitchen. Larger pots are used
for boiling water, but are not as common. A traditionally made
pot is approx.£2 / $4 / 3 Euro and is made locally in the village.
As this is a relatively skilled job a single potter will cover
a large area and therefore the pot sizes remain fairly constant.
on picture of bowl above to down load a
3D interactive image
There are some commercially produced rocket stoves, but the
cost is out of reach to all but NGOís
and Government organisations. A large stove 600 mm pot diameter
can cost more than the average wage for a year. Each FOMO centres
caters for 300 to 400 hundred children daily and to meet this
need we have purchased stoves for most of the centres and though
there was some resistance to their use at first, (Very dry wood
is vital) everyone quickly saw the benefit of the stoves.
If we consider the materials for the stove we need some insulation
material, and have a number of choices. A mixture of charcoal
(85%) or sawdust (50%) and the remainder clay are the most
common, but we can also use pumice, vermiculite and a number
of other materials. We can rule out sawdust, (see note), vermiculite
and pumice as they are not available in sufficient quantities.
Charcoal works well but it has to be produced at a cost, so
we need to explore other alternatives. At this point in time
am not sure what they are, but a good candidate is the waste
shells resulting from dehusking
the maize and rice. For the outer casing various fillers have
been used including rock, concrete, clay or in the case of
old cast-iron stoves, water jackets for general heating. There
is an abundance of free clay; the best type is from termite
mounds as it has already been sieved. Specialist clays can
be sourced in Malawi,
but again cost would be a major factor.
on picture of mould above to down load a 3D interactive image
Note: It may be better to use sawdust (50%)
/ clay (50%) for the plate as it would produce a more consistent
Clay working skills, use of moulds and clay firing are quite
wide spread in Malawi
as can be seen from the number of locally made baked bricks
and pots. The idea is to create a stove design that will capitalize
on the existing skills and knowledge using virtually free construction
materials. The greatest cost would be in the firing of the insulation
material and labour.
The specifications for the stove in terms of size and air
flow can be gleaned from a wealth of sites on the web. I have
included one such example as part of the documentation, though
as the author points out after extensive calculations, if
there is insufficient air flow then raise the pot a bit. That
sort of flexibility we can cope with.
The hexagon shape is to allow for varing
sizes of pot and it also caters for both flat and traditionally
curved bottom pots.
design is based on having a central mould and coating
it with a layer of insulting material. A charcoal/clay mix
will be used first, but further experimentation will be done
later to add flexibility. The container, (body) will be back
filled with termite clay. The whole stove will be sun dried
and baked in a pit kiln or placed within a brick stack for
cater for the drop scone production and frying a raised metal
plate may be laid on top of the stove and though this is a
luxury, scones are normally made for sale. Rocket
The Goal: FOMO will
produce stoves for sale to assist FOMO to meet its on going
commitment to the children of Mulanje.
It is hoped that each stove will cost no more than £5 / $10
/ 8 Euro. A number of stoves will be given away free to the
small number of FOMO children, (89) that live on their own.
The 14 FOMO centres will also use the stoves for general cooking
and for demonstration purposes.
Picture above: †Clay Rocket Stove
This is the theory; all we need now is the funding to set
A couple of other designs using a standard drain grid.
The left hand picture is a one piece design whereas the right
hand picture is made with a central insolating tube, base
and outer shell which may be made from other materials.
Together Helping Does Make a Difference
Malawi - Friends of Mulanje Orphans
on either picture to download a 3D interactive image
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