Products used for disaster relief are advancing rapidly. Trying to choose between one manufacturer’s product and another involves evaluating the whole technology as well as the context. If you’re considering a powered product, then understanding the technology needed to operate it is equally important as the context. This is particularly significant when it comes to cookstoves.
We created a guide to help you compare technology and design and choose the right cookstove. But there’s a ‘next step’ to that process which we didn’t cover in the previous guide, and that’s understanding the difference between specific fuel types.
Three core things you need to consider:
- Where the supplies are going
- What kind of environment they’ll be used in
- What’s already available at the destination
When evaluating different cookstove fuels, those last two pieces of information really come into play; what kind of environment will it be used in, and what is readily available at the destination?
To help you determine which cookstove is the best fit for your next humanitarian project, we’ve created this quick and easy guide to understanding the different fuel types of the cookstoves we offer.
A Quick Overview of the Cookstoves We Offer
Biomass includes all kinds of material from wood and leaves to agricultural scraps and grassy or woody plants. It’s the oldest source of energy known to man and depending on where your cookstoves are going, it may be a perfect and sustainable fit. If the environment is rich with biomass materials, it’s worth considering.
However, biomass fuel doesn’t burn as clean as some other fuels. Understanding common practices and how or where the cookstove will actually be used can help you determine if a biomass stove is a right choice.
Our Biomass Cookstoves:
Prime Square Granular Biomass Stove (small/granular biomass; kernels, woodchips, pellets, etc.)
Prime Square Fuelwood Biomass Stove (larger biomass; wood, briquettes, cobs etc.)
Bilex™ Ultra Stove (requires proprietary, clean burning biomass fuel bricks)
Because charcoal is relatively inexpensive, it’s often a candidate for areas where biomass may not be as readily available. However, with charcoal stoves, the focus is squarely on efficiency. This fuel is not particularly eco-friendly, but it does fill a vital gap and provide an affordable alternative.
Our Charcoal Cookstoves:
Firewood cookstoves are similar biomass models in the sense that they use a natural fuel source. But unlike a biomass stove where a variety of organic materials will work, wood cookstoves require strictly wood fuel. The result is a consistent heat that generally burns cleaner than biomass.
Our Wood Cookstoves:
Ethanol / Alcohol
Ethanol, alcohol, and methanol are all clean burning liquid biofuels. Each end product (the fuel itself) is similar. However, the way they are produced is different. These fuels offer quick, high heat, and there is no soot or smoke created.
Our Methanol Cookstoves:
The quest to create clean, efficient and affordable cookstoves is never ending
As we bring on new suppliers and grow our range of available cookstoves, we will update this list. Interested in learning about all the different cookstove fuels used around the world? Visit The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
This is meant as a “Part 2” or continuation of our previous article: How to Choose the Right Cookstove. If you don’t quite understand the differences between the many available cookstoves, please take a moment to read the guide.