[Stoves] forced draft (Re: A Karve 13 August)

Philip Lloyd plloyd at mweb.co.za
Tue Aug 30 01:06:45 MDT 2016

I find this discussion sad. I have answered the five questions as if I were a user of a biofuelled stove in a typical urban setting of my acquaintance.  The gap between the questioner and the responder is too big.

If I were in the hypothetical situation of Ron’s questioner, I would say:

1.       Would you like to try this new cooker I have invented? And if the answer was “Yes”, then

2.       Could I come back next week and see how you like it?

Or if the answer was “No”, then 2. What is wrong with it?

In real, live testing under different circumstances, once I got a “No”, and the answer to 2. was “The fuel is too small” ( I had made the mistake of testing it with too good a chimney, and the better draft allowed the smaller fuel to burn). On another occasion, I got a “Yes” to both questions, and when I asked why it was liked, it was “because the food tastes like it was cooked on electricity.” They were fed up with everything tasting of smoke!

As I like to remind my students when they go out to do field work:

1.       Never assume that because they are poor they are stupid. Because they are poor, they have to be smart even to stay alive.

2.       Never presume you know the answer.  They will give you answers to questions you never even dreamt of.


Prof Philip Lloyd

Energy Institute, CPUT

SARETEC, Sachs Circle


Tel 021 959 4323

Cell 083 441 5247

PA Nadia 021 959 4330




From: Stoves [mailto:stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of Ronal W. Larson
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 6:17 AM
To: Nikhil Desai
Cc: Crispin Pemberton-Pigott; Discussion of biomass
Subject: Re: [Stoves] forced draft (Re: A Karve 13 August)




            I made six positive claimed points about TLUDs.  How about your rephrasing each to help (or restrain) we who are trying to sell a (claimed) improved stove?Same request to Cecil.





On Aug 29, 2016, at 10:01 PM, Nikhil Desai <pienergy2008 at gmail.com> wrote:




I know nothing @TLUD, but I won't think much of answers to these questions one way or another. 


But I do consider these to be "leading questions" meant to elicit a biased answer. 


It is tragic to see people falling in the trap of believing themselves by getting convenient confirmations by means of leading questions. 


Am I not correct? :-)


Not that I want to be. 


I salute unshakeable faith as the method of 21st Century "science".


Now ask me when I stopped lying. 


Anybody out to measure intelligence and desire knows neither. S/he is just one blind among many in the zoo trying to define an elephant. 


Please excuse my impudence. I have no desire - for a biomass stove - nor intelligence. 


As always, wrong questions guarantee wrong answers. 



Nikhil Desai

+91 909 995 2080

Skype: nikhildesai888

On Aug 29, 2016, at 11:15 PM, "Ronal W. Larson" <rongretlarson at comcast.net> wrote:

Cecil, Nikhil, list et al:


            This is the first time I have understood Cecil’s interview methodology, where he says below his (and Crispin’s) method was: “..to minimally tweak 

traditional stoves ..”   This obviously is biased against TLUDs and charcoal - making.  I contend this also underestimates the intelligence and desires of the rural cook.


            I wonder if any other person doing stove questionnaires or knows of their existence has ever seen one that asked any question pertinent to TLUDs?  Examples of questions I would like to see asked (and never have seen) are:


            1.  Would you consider a stove that could be paid off in months from the charcoal you could make with it? What is “charcoal”? Who round here wants it?

            2.  How would you rank the importance of using a stove that you could leave unattended for an hour? Did you ever have kids, mister?

            3.  Would you consider buying a stove that could use very small pieces of fuel? Why? I get the fuel I need at the price I can afford – why would anyone waste time in making it smaller?

            4.  Would a stove that helped address global warming be important to you? Er - global warming?   What’s that?

            5.  Would you consider a stove whose charcoal output could possibly double the productivity of your garden? Garden? What “garden”? You seen where I live?



I assume questions are regularly asked about emissions - so TLUDs might have a small consumer advantage there.  But one would have to know the relative advantage - such as asking about a biomass cook stove that could be cleaner than a kerosene stove.  I doubt such health-related questions have been asked.


            So I ask Cecil (who I have known for decades) if he has ever asked any stove questions like these above - or ever seen any such?   What answers would he expect?   What would Nikhil  (who I have also communicated with decades ago) think would be the answers?









On Aug 29, 2016, at 11:46 AM, cec1863 at gmail.com wrote:


Greetings Traveller aka Nikhil,


Thank you for your swashbuckling frankness‎ about the fundamental foolishness of expecting abstract ISO standards, metrics, and household stove performance tests to lead the stovers and stove producers of the planet into a paradise of smokeless pollution free biomass cooking and space heating.


>From where I sit on the sidelines these days I see a tragic perversion of the potential for a holistic "science" of small household stoves by many differe‎nt competing commercial, professional political, gender and lifestyle interest groups. We are forced to fight the battle of armgeddon simply to decide what parameters and assessment methodologies can be trusted to guide the development of simple $10 improved stoves for the 1/3 of humankind at the bottom of the world scrum. 


My question is how do we generate a respectful conversations‎ between the various role players involved in the scrum to innovate, produce and promote user friendly and responsive improved  household stoves that are affordable and can successfully compete for market share without any subsidy. 


That means the end of outsourcing to China and the end of imported stoves selling for ±‎ $100 with or without carbon credits when there are locally made stoves being produced, distributed and sold for under $5 by traditional artisans. 


I am a backslid (defrocked) anthropologist‎ so the first thing I do is investigate the already institutionalized stove technologies and all of the stove management and fuel use 'culture' which surrounds the TECHNOS with what used to be called "ethno-science". The mrta-culture between the stove and the plasma of knowledge and symbols might be referred to as the human factors which mediate the relationship between stove users and their stoves. OK. That is where I choose to start. Other professional stovers have other skills, interests and points of intervention. 


My contribution to a hopefully respectful conversation with fellow stovers is informed by decades of AT based self help develop projects in South Africa. My bottom up‎ development process was guided and informed by my effort to answer this question: how do we collaborate with partners and potential beneficiaries so as to get the greatest possible benefits for the largest number with the smallest possible intervention and at the smallest possible cost per brnefit/beneficiary????


Unfortunately, the thrust of BIG AID and BIG DEVELOPMENT‎ agencies (remember Big Nurse in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest?) is to massively intervene from the top down and in the process massively disrupt the traditional stove/fuel/pot/kitchen layout/producer/

marketing "system". It is worth pointing out that there is an indigenous stove/fuel culture and economy in place that has been cooking food, heating homes, making and selling stoves, and supplying fuel for many generations.


I only have one simple suggestion about a possible master strategy: slow and steady change strategy will radically out perform the massive disruption strategy that is favored by Big Development. 


Crispin and I combined to propose and demonstrate the feasibility of a stove improvement develpment process in Mongolia and Java that involved using stove science to minimally tweak traditional stoves so that their emission and efficiency performance eventually approaches the high stardards of an EPA approved clean cookstove. 


IMO such high standards are bureaucratic impositions that needlessly disempower the stakeholers and role players in traditional stove/fuel/producer systems.  

For me as a old man observing the counter productivity of the stove wars in places like Sudan and many other places in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. If we are to make real progress in the small stove/biomass fuel economy  it is necessary for all role players to take deep breaths, cool off, depoliticize, speak kindly to colleagues, and grow the common ground that unites us all in our quest for an infinite series of apprpriate "good" little cooking and heating stoves.


Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

From: Traveller

Sent: Monday, August 29, 2016 10:13 AM

To: neiltm at uwclub.net

Reply To: miata98 at gmail.com

Cc: Discussion of biomass cooking stoves

Subject: Re: [Stoves] forced draft (Re: A Karve 13 August)



Thank you. I learned a little about biochar from a "stover" friend, guru from decades ago - Stephen Joseph - back in 2008 but then lost track. I am glad to read from you that there are consumer products now that you consider "So versatile". 

It is a gross error to ignore versatility and flexibility, and buy into the USEPA propaganda of Water Boiling Tests. GACC could be a Faustian Bargain. Except perhaps to those who pay the Clinton Foundation to play at the gala performances of WJC and HRC. 

I wonder if WHO Is fooling EPA - that its IAQ guideline is to be taken as Moses' Fifteenth Commandment (all others can be ignored, just like WHO's OAQ guideline is) - of EPA is fooling WHO - that its ratings based on a silly test protocol for emission rates and area modeling will somehow translate into mass acceptance and reduction in premature mortality. (There will always be premature mortality; the GBD people will find something else to blame it on, for example boredom with academia.)

Versatile. Durable. What a breath of fresh air, compared to the intellectual smoke of Washington, DC. 

If we are to continue this "cobenefits" paradigm - the pretension of saving trees, lives, and climate - we might as well add in the co-benefits of biochar, and assign value to customer satisfaction. The customer is sovereign, not the expert class engaged in mutual back-scratching.  



(India +91) 909 995 2080


On Sat, Aug 20, 2016 at 5:56 AM, <neiltm at uwclub.net> wrote:

On 19 Aug 2016 at 19:25, Traveller wrote:

> I remembered how some charcoal fires used to be run with a hand
> blower. I found a modern version on Amazon.in, here
> <http://www.amazon.in/Grill-Blower-Charcoal-Grills-Fireplaces/dp/B011
> 7F268 0>

These can sometimes be purchased for as little as one GB pound in pound
shops in the UK (and a little more on ebay), and are excellent for
starting or reviving volcano kettles when there is no wind and/or
reluctant fuel, or for reviving a TLUD which has gone out, by simply
blasting it into the top until the flame rekindles well enough to
sustain, or less urgently applying it gently to the bottom outside
airholes which can help a flagging  NDTLUD revive sometimes.  I use it as
an occasional 'rescue' in other words.  Sustained use of it would be
tedious as well as occupying both hands.  They seem surprisingly durable
as well. I've had the same one for years.

Just cooked a nice omelette on one of the Chinese NTLUDs using very fine
dry wood chip - almost chain saw sawdust size.  This restricts the
primary air nicely for a lengthy sustained moderate heat, but there is no
possibility to add fuel at the end of the batch to keep it going, yet
even such micro char successfully fuels our BBQ.  Using much larger fuel
allows for indefinite burn time whether beginning the burn as a TLUD or
not.  So versatile these stoves.  Much as I enjoyed the Reed fan woodgas
campstoves, I no longer take them on trips now, but still use them
occasionally at home.

Neil Taylor


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