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Coalstove Newsletter Article

Coalstove Newsletter Article

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Published by John Taulo

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Published by: John Taulo on Jul 02, 2012
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Experiment testing of Top Lit Updraft Coal Stove for Domestic use in Malawi
by John L Taulo, Deputy Director (Research and Development)
Introduction
Combustion of biomass remains the prevalent energy source for cooking and heating of ruralhouseholds in
Malawi, where more than 84.7% of the country’s population resides (Kambewa
and Chiwaula, 2010). Approximately 11 million rural people in Malawi still use biomass forcooking, where fuelwood represents approximately 88% of energy used by rural households and95.4% of total energy use in rural communities (NSO, 2009). Cooking is then often done overopen fires, which are highly inefficient transferring only 5-10% of the fuel energy to the cookingpot. The adverse health and socio-economic implications of this form of energy supply areenormous, with women and children at particular risk. The burden of biomass fuel collection andprocessing for cooking also falls mainly upon women and children (mainly girls), who spendsignificant time gathering fuel resources every day.Steadily rising firewood consumption for cooking purposes results in deforestation of large areascreating severe ecological problems. In order to protect the environment it is urgently required toutilize alternative methods for cooking purposes. Therefore, providing a clean cooking energyoption for these households will yield enormous gains in terms of health and socio-economicwelfare of the weakest and the most vulnerable sections of society. At the same time, the cleanercombustion in these devices will greatly reduce the products of incomplete combustion whichare greenhouse pollutants, thus helping combat climate change.This study aims at using locally available materials to develop a more efficient, affordable andsafe coal-burning stove in which the use of the stove will result in lesser consumption rates of fuel and reduce the indoor air pollution. The stove in the present study follows the principle of producing combustible gases, primarily carbon monoxide, from coal by burning it with limitedamount of air. The coal is burnt just enough to convert the fuel into char and allow the oxygen inthe char at a higher temperature to produce combustible carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H
2
),and methane. Other gases, like carbon dioxide (CO
2
) and water vapour (H
2
O) which are notcombustible, are also produced during gasification. By controlling the air supply with a smallfan, the amount of air necessary to gasify coal is achieved.
TLUD Coal Stove
The TLUD stove (see Fig.1) consists of a cylindrical reactor, an outer cylinder, a gas burner, anda fan. The cylindrical reactor having a diameter of 15 cm and a height of 49 cm is where the fuelis gasified. It is made of 1.6 mm mild steel sheet and is provided with grate at the bottom for thepassage of primary air. The grate is made of 12 mm diameter deformed bars with 10 mm
 
spacing. The outer cylinder serves as stove body and as burner support. The gas burner is wherethe gas generated from the reactor, mixed with preheated air, and is ignited. The fan is attachedto the stove body and is used to supply the air needed for gasification. The primary air entersfrom the bottom end of the reactor with the use of a 12 cm, 15- watt computer fan. Thesecondary air, on the other hand, enters the reactor through 16 holes on top of the stove casinghaving a diameter of 20 mm and is mixed with the gas generated at the small holes located at theupper portion of the burner. Combustible gases are burned in the plate burner consisting of 40and 45 holes at the inner and outer circles, respectively, with 10-mm diameter.
Results
Modified University of California water boiling test (WBT) version 4.12 was used for testing thestove. Burn rate and stove efficiency were determined together with emission factors for carbondioxide (CO
2
), carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO) and hydrocarbons(HC). Compared tothe three stone fire, the coal stove exhibited a higher burn rate (25.57 g/min (1.534 kg h
-1
)) butlower efficiency. The average computed thermal efficiency of the stove was 18.3%. The CO andCO
2
emission was in the range 9 ppm to 5480ppm (10.32-6279 mg/m
3
) and 1700 ppm to 23, 500ppm (3060-42,300 mg/m
3
), respectively. The coal stove recorded mean CO, CO2, HC and NOemission factors of 1.658, 125.2, 0.197 and 0.236 g kg
-1
, respectively. The emissions andconcentrations of carbon monoxide met an emission standard of a CO: CO2 ratio of <0.02. Thestove works in the range of 1.578 to 18.93 kW of power rating. The coal stove still requires fieldtesting and user evaluation. This limited series of experiment suggests that the coal burning stoveshould be carefully designed, constructed and operated. Domestic use of raw coal is notrecommended until further investigations are carried out.
Conclusion
A larger percentage of the population in Malawi relies on biomass fuels and traditionaltechnologies for cooking and heating. And the burning of biomass fuels in the traditional andinefficient cook-stoves has negative impacts on the health of household members. Therefore, in

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