[Stoves] Stoves as gifts (Re: Anand Karve 20 Aug)

Traveller miata98 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 31 17:10:02 MDT 2016

Moderator: I changed the subject line.

Dear Dr. Karve:

I am following up on your e-mail that  you haven't yet seen stoves as
wedding gifts. To me, that is a part of my "testing protocol" (no, I don't
pay experts to design such). Another is "repeat purchase". The latter
presumes that the first one was used and enjoyed.

Would you like to introduce on your website that your stoves may make
excellent gifts? Perhaps you could arrange a special package for every
religion or sub-religion in India - a picture of a Srinathji or a Shirdi
Saibaba or the Golden Temple, St. Xavier's church, the Jama Masjid or

A happy young couple - hopefully, a safer child too, soon enough - would so
delight me. I offer INR 5,000 to any young man who uses the stove (gifted
by the bride's side to the bride, of course) two years into the marriage,
100 times total. I hope you would put his picture and mine on your website.

I have another proposal - my gift of "commercial sector" stoves (please
give me a price quote) of Samuchit  (The idea is out here in the public
domain, for Ron, Paul, Crispin, Cecil, anybody.)

-- first, to our Dear PM, Shri Narendrabhai Modi Chaiwalla. (A related
Desai family from my ancestral village were Chaiwalla in Mumbai. So I know
something about Chaiwallas).

-- second, to Jashodaben, his wife.

Narendrabhai could use a "commercial sector" stove to treat President
Clinton and troupe to a special tea like he did with President Obama.

And Jashodaben could show it to her brother-in-law who has an LPG
distribution license (which may have some of its value because of
Narendrabhai's reforms).

If hope Shri Narendrabhai invites Jashodaben to share his kitchen.

The market for commercial-scale woodstoves looks promising.  I am taking
you on your word that restaurateurs find your stoves cheaper than LPG (even
at today's prices?).  Most places around the world, LPG is more expensive
than in India (though electricity is often cheaper than LPG).

Coming to think of it, if you have cheaper (<$50 and <$100 apiece,
including delivery by mail) biomass stoves for rural households that have
a) current sales of 10,000 a year or more, and have reason to believe that
they have been used 1,000 hours in the most recent two years, I would like
to gift one each to Narendrabhai and Jashodaben. (I am a firm believer in
"stacking" in households, restaurateurs also stack. Not for me this
theology of total, irreversible transition to "clean cooking", just so the
Berkeley Air Monitoring crowd can keep on using the poor as guinea pigs.
Even that I wouldn't mind if I had any trust in their methods.)

Then there's a market for other gifts - Father's Day, Mother's Day,
Christmas and Diwali, Ramadan (for iftar cooking).

The Biolite stove was advertised as a Father's Day gift  for $225 (US
delivery) - http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fathers-day-2014-techie-gifts-
for-dad. I understand an Envirofit stove sells for $250 in Mexico

My personal interest is to develop an answer to my favorite question for
whatever it is worth  - what is worth support from public budgets? (Private
charities have rights to their motives and biases.)

You may have seen an EHP editorial in July by Ambuj Sagar, Kirk Smith, and
some others, where they wrote (about India), "170 million households,
primarily in rural areas, are exposed indoors and near the household to
pollution resulting from poor combustion of solid fuels such as wood, crop
residues, and dung in traditional cookstoves."

The key issue - leaving aside the health effects of such exposure - is
"poor combustion. in traditional cookstoves". (Mark the phrase "indoors and
near the household"; no hanky-panky about Global Circulation Models and air
quality monitoring 60 feet above ground in ten locations per city.)

Improved combustion with modern cookstoves (whatever fuel) can reduce
exposures PROVIDED the stoves are used.

I am of the view that USEPA and GACC can come in and do lab and field
testing of stoves that are actually used, and that ex-ante lab testing with
stoves that may not be used amounts to what Cecil calls the "fundamental

There has to be a start - in the market place. That can best be done by
private foundations/charities, not government bureaucrats. Or
self-promoters/consulting contractors like the Clinton Foundation.


PS: I understand how unionized cooks rebel against changing to wood. (There
is a famous restaurant in New Orleans French Quarter called Antoine's. Said
to be the oldest family-run restaurant in the US, and claims heads of state
among its visitors. I asked to, and was allowed, go into its kitchen. The
bartender - or the current owner, I forget - told me how the cooks
threatened to go on strike when the restaurant was changed from coal to
gas, circa 1950. "You can't cook French food on gas!", they roared. Such is
the reality cooking, until Global Alliance of Cooking Cops takes over the

(India +91) 909 995 2080

On Sat, Aug 20, 2016 at 12:24 AM, Anand Karve <adkarve at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Nikhil,
> kitchen utensils and dinner sets (nowadays generally made of stainless
> steel) are given to the newly married couple as gifts by the bride's
> parents, but I have never seen a cookstove being a part of this category of
> items. Not a bad idea though.

> Our electricity-less forced draft stoves are not used by householders
> because they are too costly for a household that traditionally burns wood
> in its kitchen. Also the flame intensity cannot be controlled as
> effectively as in a traditional wood burning stove. Such households are
> generally situated in rural areas and almost 60% of the woody biomass is
> generated in their own farms. The restaurant owners, on the other hand,
> have to buy their fuel.  Although the cost of such a stove is high, the
> fuel, namely wood, is cheaper than LPG. Thus, if our stove is used daily
> for about 6 hours, about three months' saving in the fuel cost would pay
> for the stove. Canteens of factories and educational institutes usually
> don't use wood burning stoves but go for LPG, in spite its higher cost. At
> that scale of cooking it is not the owner but hired cooks, who do the
> cooking. They are unionized and would threaten to go on strike, if they are
> forced to use wood burning stoves.
> Yours
> A.D.Karve
> ***
> Dr. A.D. Karve
> Chairman, Samuchit Enviro Tech Pvt Ltd (www.samuchit.com)
> Trustee & Founder President, Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI)
> On Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 7:25 PM, Traveller <miata98 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Dear Dr. Karve:
>> Thank you so much. I wasn't aware of this entire range - I don't mean to
>> pun - and hadn't seen the video before.
>> I wonder USEPA have a program of testing stoves with fans. Or, for that
>> matter, boiling water in different winds. Could also be combined with
>> climate change research - as in, "Forecasting Premature Mortality Under
>> Different Combinations of Stoves, Winds, and Temperatures."
>> Making short work of cooking may allow women to fill out surveys.
>> --
>> Seriously, my compliments for a diversity of products. A couple of
>> serious questions, if the answer is not commercially sensitive:
>> a. Any of these stoves given in dowry or wedding gift for five seasons at
>> roughly a hundred per season?
>> b. Any household customer having bought two or more types of stoves, for
>> own use or gift?
>> Please accept my advance gratitude.
>> Nikhil
>> ---------
>> (India +91) 909 995 2080
>> On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 8:48 AM, Anand Karve <adkarve at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Dear Stovers,
>>> we have developed an electricity-less forced draft (ELFD) stove for
>>> restaurants. You can watch the working and flame characteristics in a video
>>> at www.samuchit.com.
>>> Yours
>>> A.D.Karve
>>> ***
>>> Dr. A.D. Karve
>>> Chairman, Samuchit Enviro Tech Pvt Ltd (www.samuchit.com)
>>> Trustee & Founder President, Appropriate Rural Technology Institute
>>> (ARTI)
>>> On Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 4:02 PM, Traveller <miata98 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Nikhil Desai again, in response to Heggie:
>>>> 1. Of course a fan-powered stove can be worth somebody's while. An
>>>> exhaust fan is worthwhile for ventilation. Both these have been in use for
>>>> decades in electrified areas, albeit for larger users. But it is such
>>>> "commercial cooking" that, I am willing to wager, has taken off the entire
>>>> increment of food/feed/beverage cooking demand in the developing world
>>>> (collectively) in the last sixty years.
>>>> Why, a couple of years ago, I found a strange contraption on the side
>>>> of a store here in my city in India. It looked like a stove but huge, and
>>>> was lying as junk. When I asked, the storekeeper said it was a diesel stove
>>>> from the 1940s. I have never seen a diesel stove before or after. He said
>>>> something about kerosene rationing and how electric fans made it possible
>>>> to use these diesel stoves in the back room kitchen for snacks.
>>>> In many geographies (urban and peri-urban), outsourcing the cooking and
>>>> using electric fans - even if not as exhaust, if there are enough windows -
>>>> are the first coping mechanisms. Not that you would catch that from blind
>>>> followers of published statistics.
>>>> I am not an engineer, but let me put this out for discussion -
>>>> combustion temperatures and air flows are the most important elements in
>>>>  solid fuel cooking, followed by fuel and vessel characteristics.
>>>> 2. "How do you decide on those figures from this discussion?" (In
>>>> response to my "do you think woodstoves with PV-battery fans may be able to
>>>> capture >1% of the cooking energy market in a developing country 10 years?")
>>>> Well, why not? What would it take to map out the economic geography of
>>>> cooking and claim, "Ah, for those areas that can't be supplied with liquid
>>>> or gaseous fuels, and where PV penetration potential for small battery
>>>> electricity is high, what would a 200 Wp solar system be able to do, and
>>>> what is the total potential market in 10 years?
>>>> The food markets are increasingly inter-connected, nationally and
>>>> globally. So are the markets for electric kettles, rice cookers, toasters.
>>>> WE the Missionaries of Dung, Straw, Husk, and Twigs from the Church of
>>>> Renewable Biomass can complain, "Oh, that's for the rich;  we have taken
>>>> vows of chastity (no fossil fuels) and poverty (no electricity)." The poor
>>>> in the mean time, get rich and start sinning.
>>>> Just today the Wall Street Journal has an amazing story - The Rice
>>>> Cooker Has Become a Test of China’s Ability to Fix Its Economy
>>>> <http://www.wsj.com/articles/as-exports-decline-china-looks-inward-for-growth-selling-made-in-china-goods-to-the-middle-class-1470238429>
>>>> . Back 30 years ago, I had computed rice cooker penetration rates in
>>>> Japan and Korea, then derived projections of electricity demand for urban
>>>> China by 2000 using, among other things, rice cookers. (As also clothes
>>>> washers, irons.)
>>>> With a million dollar grant, I will calculate gains in life years
>>>> (DALYs) from 1980 to 2010 due to electric rice cookers.  Modern coal power
>>>> is a wonderful boon.
>>>> I didn't allow for heating milk; had no idea China will become such a
>>>> huge producer and importer of milk. The market for kitchen appliances,
>>>> <http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/indonesia-kitchen-appliances-market-to-grow-at-cagr-16-till-2021-techsci-research-report-588142792.html>
>>>> processed foods, and restaurant meals, has left all the "improved
>>>> woodstoves" at the mercy of stubborn poor.  What are GACCers yakking on and
>>>> on for?
>>>> Our sin is, we keep on talking "stoves", not "foods", "peoples",
>>>> "tastes." Woodstove programs for the rural poor households have burned the
>>>> meals. They keep poor people poor. (Charcoal, coal and processed wood are
>>>> exceptions).
>>>> For a change, we might start talking about service standards,
>>>> objectives, market definitions, and serving the poor instead of saving
>>>> them. That would require thinking of the whole food and cooking "system" as
>>>> Dr. Kishore said in the Up in Smoke news item.
>>>> There is probably a niche market for PV-battery woodstoves and also for
>>>> PV-induction cooking.
>>>> The question is not "price/demand curve as electricity gets cheaper",
>>>> but rather as electricity gets RELATIVELY cheaper, all user costs
>>>> considered.
>>>> I am going out and venture another guess -- at 7 USc/kWh (tax-inclusive
>>>> average tariff in India) grid electricity, baking bread and making rice
>>>> with electricity is cheaper than with low-quality wood at 14 USc/kg or 30
>>>> USc/kg charcoal (again, average urban price in India). That is on fuel cost
>>>> basis and without credit for convenience and cleanliness that some users
>>>> are likely to prefer.
>>>> I don't think electricity price "would have to fall a lot before
>>>> cooking with electricity becomes economic". I have been saying for 20+
>>>> years that for certain parts of urban Africa, electricity is cheaper than
>>>> LPG and charcoal is not an option. So go electric, solar (water heating),
>>>> gas (large cities), or eat out.
>>>> That would still leave about 500 million households in the world
>>>> reliant on solid fuels.  What options have the biomass stovers given them
>>>> yet? (Xavier Brandao had the right question.)
>>>> Nikhil
>>>> ---------
>>>> (India +91) 909 995 2080
>>>> On Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 2:58 AM, <ajheggie at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> [Default] On Tue, 2 Aug 2016 16:16:50 +0530,Traveller
>>>>> <miata98 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> >Well, do you think woodstoves with PV-battery fans may be able to
>>>>> capture
>>>>> >1% of the cooking energy market in a developing country 10 years?
>>>>> That's
>>>>> >huge, and more than any improved woodstove has in the last 50 years.
>>>>> How do you decide on those figures from this discussion?
>>>>> My inference from recent discussions here  was that a small PV
>>>>> solar-battery combination was more likely to be cost effective than a
>>>>> TEG IF it was decided that a fan powered stove was "worthwhile".
>>>>> >
>>>>> >For one, the SE4All campaign is about "universal access" to
>>>>> electricity
>>>>> >(and "clean cooking", whatever that means). And even then, it is
>>>>> becoming
>>>>> >clear that there is a pico-PV battery market for phone, laptop, fan,
>>>>> for
>>>>> >mobile applications or a host of other appliances. Adding another
>>>>> battery
>>>>> >may improve the utilization rates for PV system investments, which
>>>>> then
>>>>> >lower the cost of outages on the grid if there is a grid connection.
>>>>> (I am
>>>>> >betting that at any given time, a fourth of the grid-connected
>>>>> households
>>>>> >in developing countries have a grid failure. No use pumping diesel
>>>>> power in
>>>>> >the grid or generate diesel power if small uses can be taken care of
>>>>> by
>>>>> >batteries.)
>>>>> I come from a country with a well established and reliable grid so I
>>>>> can only but imagine what I might value of the utility of a small
>>>>> amount of electricity. I suggest that powering a smart phone and
>>>>> lighting would be high on that agenda but it would be interesting to
>>>>> see the price/demand curve as electricity gets cheaper, I think it
>>>>> would have to fall a lot before cooking with electricity becomes
>>>>> economic. My cooking is almost exclusively done with electricity but
>>>>> that cost is a very low percentage of my income.
>>>>> AJH
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