[Stoves] Anticipating future markets for stoves and fuels

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott crispinpigott at gmail.com
Thu Jun 23 07:39:00 PDT 2011

Dear Tom

Interesting development. How has that affected the wood pellet prices in the
S.E. US which were quite depressed?

>Your call for processed fuels echoes on of our main recommendations to the
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. 

I have been following that. What I see emerging is a long term appropriate
of biomass for higher income users as they come under economic pressure, as
their bills rise, especially for heating, and as technologies for
efficiently processing the fuels (into pellets, for example) are reduced in
size, cost and increase in efficiency.

The trend will then be towards 
. Hmmmm, what is the word
. I guess
‘commodify’ is not the right one as biomass is already a commodity of sorts,
even if it is collected mostly free. Maybe that is the only good name. It is
turning an energy commons into a privatized commodity traded to people who
have been convinced it is a better fuel. 

That which is promoted gets accepted, technologies are developed to enhance
it, and it becomes ‘normal’.  The problem we as a human society face is that
there are strong pressures not to build small, inexpensive nuclear plants,
like Thorium-Fluoride reactors, the greatest remaining hydro power sites are
in unstable places (i.e. DR Congo which could power all of Europe), there is
ineffectual promotion of fuel tree lots just about everywhere, speculators,
taxes and protesters are making oil unaffordable and coal is demonised by no
less than NASA and other public institutions. There is going to be nothing
to cook and heat with.

Carbonisers want to bury more than ½ the energy available from biomass in
the form of char. If that catches on in India it will reduce the available
biomass energy in half (actually, more than half). 

Can this more than be made up in increased combustion and heat transfer
efficiency? I wonder. When it comes to space heating, you can’t reduce the
energy requirement like you can with cooking. The building will have to be
improved to reduce the energy need. Not so simple.  Putting a chimney stove
into a home where there had been an open fire (Nepal for example) reduces
system efficiency – at least so far.

There is a guy who lives on the West Coast who was once an Aprovecho person
– very long ago, like in the 70’s. He is making a type of mud stove for
heating clay buildings involving a long heated bench that you sleep on. It
is a way of saving fuel.  Who is that person? There is an unusual (and I
thought CO-dangerous) combustor on that device which might be transformable
into a higher efficiency heater. Been thinking about that one. What is it





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