The Rocket Mud Stove
The rocket mud stove was first developed and successfully implemented in Uganda. It was then adopted by GTZ Kenya in 2006 in another successful programme. In Kenya, research has shown that the stoves are 60% more efficient than traditional methods of cooking.
A Rocket mud stove is an improved stove made from locally available building materials:
- Dry grass
- Mud bricks (or clay fired bricks if available)
Because of its internal design it consumes firewood more efficiently than a three stone fire. This means less firewood is needed to cook the same amount of food. The stove also has two holes for cooking pots which means two things can be cooked at the same time. The Rocket mud stove is an improvement on the previous Lorena stove design with other advantages including:
- Firewood fuel savings
The rocket stoves have the potential to significantly reduce the amount of firewood used in cooking in comparison to the traditional 3 stone stoves. This saves time spent collecting firewood, which can be put to productive use.
- Smoke reduction
The chimney takes smoke outside the house creating a healthier kitchen that helps reduce eye and respiratory problems, especially among women and children.
- Easy to operate
Once lit the fire does not stop until the firewood feed is stopped. The air passage beneath the fire shelf fans the flames without the need for blowing.
- Safe to use
The fire is shielded and less likely to cause burns to the children and the user.
- Environmentally friendly
The stove consumes less firewood helping to reduce deforestation. The stoves are less polluting because of its nearly smokeless operation.
How the Rocket Mud Stove Works
The improved stoves are able to transfer maximum heat to the food because:
- At least 90% of the saucepan’s surface area has contact with the hot gases.
- Insulation around the combustion chamber and fire passages prevents heat from escaping.
- The firewood shelf enables air to pass beneath the wood to fan the flames, creating a strong fire from a small amount of wood.
Cross section of the rocket mud stove (source: Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda & GTZ, 2004, How to Build the improved household stoves: a construction manual for the rocket-lorena and shielded fire stoves)
The stove element of the programme is producing carbon dioxide offsets for sale. The improved fuel efficient stoves promoted by STT save between 40-50% of the firewood used with the traditional cooking method, representing an annual saving, for each household, of approximately 1 tonne of firewood (and reducing CO2 emissions by over a tonne). The stove technology promoted by STT involves locally available materials (mud and dried grass). The stoves have three important design elements.
- They are well insulated, allowing less heat to escape, which means less firewood is used to produce the same amount of heat as the traditional 3-stone fire, because the fire is hotter and food cooks more quickly.
- Each stove has a chimney. This removes indoor smoke and reduces the risk of eye and respiratory illnesses. Further, children and adults are at much less risk from burns than from an open fire.
- They contain two holes for pots, rather than the single-pot 3-stone fire, so that meals take less time to cook, again reducing the amount of firewood needed, approximately half the amount used with a traditional fire, each day. In addition to using less fuel they also:
- improve the health of families by reducing smoke and allowing families to afford to cook foods such as pulses which provide good nutrition (pulses take too much time and fuel to be affordable when using the traditional cooking method);
- lessen the pressure on the vegetation of the region and thus enable regeneration to take place.
- empower women by releasing time to spend on other productive, educational, or income generating activities;
- allow children more time for school and adolescent girls reduced exposure to assault and danger;
- provide those trained as stove builders with an additional source of income.
Interviews in the Field
Filimoni and Elisia Mgowela
Stumai and Alan Muhumpha