Chances are that even if you own a propane camp stove, you’ve tried cooking over an open fire at least once.
When you did, despite your best efforts, you probably ended up sucking down a lot of smoke in the process. Now, imagine doing that for every meal. For many women in the developing world, breathing in toxic smoke while cooking over a wood, kerosene or coal fire is part of their daily routine. Not only can it have a detrimental effect on their own health, but it also worsens local air pollution and (in the case of wood fires) deforestation. The Eco Fire Pot Stove, however, is designed to allow these women to cook while breathing clean air.
The device was invented by Adama Kamara, a natural therapist who was born in Sierra Leone, but moved to Australia in 1996.
“The UN estimates that around 1.4 million women and children die each year because of inhaling fumes from wood or solid biomass burning in traditional cook stoves,” she told Gizmag. “I believe that women should not be given a death sentence because they can only afford to use solid biomass fuels for cooking in traditional cook stoves. I decided to help by designing and building a stove that can use a variety of fuels for cooking, which produces less indoor air pollution and thus reduce the disease burden in women and small children.”
The stove itself is very simple – it’s pretty much just a box with grated burner-like holes on the top. Underneath each hole, a metal receptacle holds a natural fiber wick. That wick sits in a pool of relatively clean-burning crude biodiesel, made from waste vegetable oil blended with methanol or ethanol and wood ash – although pretty much any locally-available fuel could be used. One receptacle containing 500 ml (17 US ounces) of fuel should provide about six hours of burn time, which ought to allow for the preparation of at least three meals.