[Stoves] Bangladesh TLUD (was Re: No subsidies in TLUD char peoduction

Nikhil Desai pienergy2008 at gmail.com
Sun Dec 10 10:17:41 MST 2017


I was only using your terms in "Just because heat goes into a stove body
does not mean a) it is significant, b) that it happens at a time that
affects *performance of the cooking experience*, c) that it is not returned
later in the session (which is *cooking behaviour-dependent*.) Yes, there
is heat invested in the stove and usually it is a loss, but the other
features of the stove may not only recover that heat through other energy
paths, it may make the stove far more accessible by being cheap and easy to
make from local materials.

You now characterize my comment as "You have moved from assessing the
performance of a defined system to assessing one aspect of its internal
sub-systems revealed in: "

I submit this is a Catch-22. Whoever told you or anybody what it  means to
"assess the performance of a defined system"? The system itself is
integrally connected to other systems - in cooking, in daily routines, in
eating. This "system boundaries" approach pleases physik-ists, but it is a
recipe for failure if pleasing the cook is the central objective.

There is a fundamental rot in this thinking -- reducing cooking to
sub-component like the stove. WBT makes it far worse by pretending boiling
water is a proxy for cooking, and eliminating fuel- and context-specific
variables altogether.

Yes, efficiencies may matter when fuel is purchased. But design adaptation
- size, shape, materials, introduction of exhaust, electric fans - is not
just about efficiency. After all the "efficiency improvements" made to
charcoal stoves in my household and all over Gujarat - no thanks to IWA
Tiers and testing laboratories - charcoal did disappear from urban
household markets. Gujarat is still a major charcoal exporter to rest of
India and there are charcoal shops in my city, catering to some commercial
users and households for winter heating.

I am still to get answers to some basic questions - What is a cookstove?
What is the service standard and how do you know it? What is the problem
sought to be solved?

There is more to cooking than a stove. There is more to a kitchen than
cooking. There is more to a home than a kitchen. The aping of EPA mindset
on NSPS - force a design change by standards - is utterly untenable
because, as I explained in reply to Andrew and you about diesel engines,
there is no consideration of the designer/user (carmakers, appliance
producers, users in the context of changing driving and residential
patterns) nor of the objective (air quality improvements, measured via air
basin studies).

I repeat - there is a lot to learn from just how EPA has done its
"technology forcing" work over the last 40 years that I have known it. It
is no pretext for EPA poking its head in the stoves business. It is
laughable if it weren't also tragic. Abuse of poor women via modeling.

What I see is an elitist, imperialist academic discourse -- from the WHO
"Burning Opportunity" to GACC "Igniting Change" to MIT D-Lab report to
World Bank reports by IHME to all the circus going on at CCAC, ICCI, even
at the Brookings Institution and Council of Foreign Affairs. Around 2005,
when I too wrote a concept note for "climate and health co-benefits" to
shift policy attention - which did happen in the circuit I hawked that note
in - and largely because of the new bandwagon of "Black Carbon". World Bank
came out with a report in 2010/1 with part of the title "Old Wine in New

Between 2005 and 2010, though, there was a lot of money for making noises
about throwing stoves (and LPG) at the poor people. "Save Climate!" was
added to "Save the Earth" slogan. I was glad, also when around 2008 a
complete overhaul of GBD was done and new estimates prepared for HAP as a
risk factor. Millions were assumed killed by HAP - after all, there were no
facts underlying the calculations, just assumptions based on assumptions,
with pathetically small and non-comparable field studies. Obama's
appointment of Secretary Clinton opened the door for pushing this "climate,
health" narrative, whose basic rationale was argued way earlier in 2000 by
James Hansen and Kirk Smith independently of each other.

I was excited by that too. Made a policy case for new energy technologies
for the poor - pico-PV and "modern biomass stoves" (borrowing pictures from
Jim Jetter). Then around 2014 an old friend kicked me in the head, so to
speak, asking me to look into the revised GBD numbers.

You know the rest -- I have spent a year and half to confirm not only that
"there is no there there" in WHO claims but also "there is no there there"
in IWA metrics and ISO TC-285 theory and the excitement about international
standards. This is entertainment and excuses to raise and spend money on
research papers and holding Clean Cooking Forums, serving rich foods to
rich peoples.

What I wrote about my childhood experiences is merely a factual observation
- that there was an organic evolution of higher-efficiency designs. That
such designs can be forced by TC-285 issuance of "international standards"
is at best an untenable assumption and at worst a convenient lie.

Outside of your and Robert's work on heating stoves in severely cold
regions -- and the evolution of "improved stoves" in China over the 1980s,
for households and TVEs -- I have yet to see "modern combustion science",
"modern air quality management techniques", and "modern physical and
environmental planning" in this so-called "stove science" stuck in
efficiency bubble.

Here is a thought - the Central Asia heating stoves work, as (if) it enters
the project phase - i.e., moving real money for real change, not for
theories - you should push for "modern air quality management techniques"
for non-residential buildings and whole habitats. If insulation is
incorporated in rehabilitating existing homes of the poor and new homes for
everybody, you would have achieved "applied collaboration for human
environments", something Tami Bond started at UIUC.

Rubber from theory tyres have to hit the road of actual living environments
of the poor. I predict that TC-285 will turn out to be another boondoggle,
unless it expands to incorporate "contextual testing" with a variety of
local, user-centric variables (some of which I noted in my Modern Cooking
paper five years ago) and correspondingly expands the menu of metrics.

Even then, I think the PM2.5 emission reduction targets have to be  junked.
There is no theory behind this WHO/EPA joint adventure and it has no use to
anybody except Gold Standard Foundation and GACC seeking to be middlemen
and rationalize their existence. I won't be unhappy if both of them die.



On Sat, Dec 9, 2017 at 11:42 PM, Crispin Pemberton-Pigott <
crispinpigott at outlook.com> wrote:

> Dear Nikhil
> I recall he used the WBT of the day, probably WBT 3.1. I recall the values
> for the light insulative ceramic chamber was 22% and the heavy heat
> conductive chamber was 24% and he got a repeatedly higher value for the
> heavy conductive chamber.
> I have concluded the reason for this enhanced performance is to be noted
> late in the fire when the heat stored in the combustion chamber is returned
> to the fire as it wanes. It keeps the CO burning for longer late in the
> fire providing heat otherwise lost (chemical loss).
> An insulative chamber provides a hotter chamber sooner but this advantage
> is soon lose when heat migrates into the stove body and cannot return later
> at a rate sufficient to keep the chamber wall hot.
> >What he discovered is similar to common knowledge from my childhood - in
> samovars for heating bathwater. Designs with thicker copper retained heat
> better and fuel efficiency was higher; which mattered because in the city
> we used purchased charcoal.
> So where fuel is purchased there is a direct consequence for higher or
> lower fuel efficiency.
> >If you standardize the cooking experience and cooking behavior, I suppose
> you can adjust for the amount of heat that goes in the stove body but is
> not utilized for cooking experience.
> Ah, wait a minute. You have moved from assessing the performance of a
> defined system to assessing one aspect of its internal sub-systems revealed
> in:
> >And if you were to do that, you would come up with some computation of
> efficiency. Which I call "competing on fuel efficiency percentages is
> infantile business" because standardizing cooking behavior and cooking
> experience is infantilism.
> This completes the switcheroo. You have picked on the standardisation of a
> ‘behaviour’ (which I call a ‘burn sequence’) and criticized the metric used
> to rate the performance of the whole system in use, but your family.
> >That has nothing to do with whether fuel efficiency matters or dominates
> consumer choice.
> That is a question outside the cooking system, residing entirely between
> the ears of the user. To optimise the performance on any metric of choice
> of feature, one often standardises the task to isolate the how one factor
> contributes to the overall performance.
> Standardising everything, as in a WBT performed by Aprovecho using their
> ‘standard fuel’ is a way to compare labs, and is used by the ISO in their
> determination of a lab’s ability to replicate results. To get ISO 17025
> certification, a lab has to replicate the results of another lab (save in
> one special case).
> >Testing and metrics ought to have a purpose.
> They do, and they have two broad categories of purpose: the determination
> of the performance on a sub-system metric, and their performance as a
> system. There is no point in reporting the performance of a system on the
> basis of how one of its sub-systems rates.  Such sub-categories of
> performance may be interesting, such as the kW of heat generated per cubic
> foot of combustion chamber. That is a metric in the current National
> Standard of Mongolia for low pressure boilers. It is not a system
> performance metric, but it is required for reporting purposes. IT is an
> example of the design engineer’s interests leaking through to the final
> product. The fuel consumption, fuel flexibility, emissions, whatever might
> be a systems rating, is not improved by requiring such a metric, even
> though the engineers determine and track such arcane things.
> Fuel consumption is such a primary aspect of system performance it is
> worth including it even when the fuel in some communities is unlimited and
> freely available. This does not apply in most communities, or any community
> where effort is considered a cost.
> Regards
> Crispin in the snow today
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