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Biomass Stove[1]

Biomass Stove[1]

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Published by Mridaney Poudel

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Published by: Mridaney Poudel on Jul 13, 2012
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S.C. Bhattacharya, A.H. Md. M. R. Siddique, M. Augustus Leon, H-L. Pham and C.P. Mahandari
Energy Program, Asian Institute of Technology, P. O. Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani, ThailandFax No. (662) 524 5439, e-mail: bhatta@ait.ac.th
- Realisation that improved cooking stoves (ICS) can relieve pressure on biomass resources led toICS programs in most developing countries of the world. Most of the ICS programs are directed towardsdevelopment of improved household cooking stoves, while relatively less work has been done on developmentof bigger stoves that could be used in institutional kitchens or certain traditional rural cottage industries. Threedifferent designs of such stoves, using biomass briquettes as fuel, have been studied:
The experimental study was within the framework of a regionalresearch and dissemination programme, 'Renewable EnergyTechnologies in Asia', funded by the Swedish InternationalDevelopment Cooperation Agency (Sida). One of the mainobjectives of the project was to design, fabricate and testimproved biomass briquette burning stoves suitable forinstitutional kitchens or traditional cottage industries.Several institutional stoves were designed, fabricated and testedto evaluate their performances. While designing, main attentionwas focused on utilization of briquettes as fuel and to get cleancombustion. Both ricehusk and sawdust briquettes were used asfuel. Testing on the stoves were carried out to determine overallefficiency using water boiling test and to observe generaloperational features, e.g. smoking, ease of start-up etc.This paper presents descriptions of the experimental stoves andtest procedures as well as results of the study.
The efficiency of a stove is usually defined as the ratio of heattransferred to the cooking medium to heat supplied by fuel. Thestove efficiency could be evaluated by a number of standardmethods such as Constant Heat Output Method, ConstantTemperature Rise Method, Constant Time Method, and WaterBoiling Test (Prasad and Verhaart, 1983). Of these, the WaterBoiling Test appears to be most commonly used; this test methodis used in the present study as well.
2.1 Water boiling test 
In a Water Boiling Test, a known quantity of water is heated onthe cookstove. No lid is used to cover the vessel so thatevaporated water freely escapes from the vessel. The quantity of water evaporated after complete burning of the fuel is determinedto calculate the efficiency by using the following formula:m
x c
x (T
- T
) + m
x H
x H
= initial mass of water in the cooking vessel, kgc
= specific heat of the water, kJ/kg°Cm
= mass of water evaporated, kgm
= mass of fuel burnedT
= temperature of boiling water, °CT
= initial temperature of water, °CH
= latent heat of evaporation at 100°C and 10
Pa, kJ/kgH
= Calorific value of fuel, kJ/kg
2.2 Apparatus for water boiling test 
i) A pan without lid.ii) Thermocouples for measuring the ambient and boilingwater temperature.iii) A digital balance for measuring the weight of fuel, waterand pan.
2.3 Procedure
The fuel and pot to be used in the test were separately weighed.The pot was partially filled up with water and weighed again. Theinitial temperature of water was recorded. The stove was ignitedto initiate heating of the pot. Boiling temperature of water wasrecorded. After burning of the fuel was complete, weight of waterleft on the pot was recorded.
Ricehusk and sawdust briquettes were the main fuels used in thestudy. The briquettes were available in cylindrical shape of about55 - 60 mm diameter, and in 20-30 cm length. These were used inwhole lengths or cut into small pieces of thickness in the range of 20 - 25 mm, as required. The measured properties of thebriquettes are given in Table 1.Table 1: Properties of ricehusk and sawdust briquettesProperty Ricehusk briquetteSawdustbriquetteBulk density, (kg/m
) 522 483Moisture content, % 6.0 7.9Volatile matter, % 57.5 75.1Fixed carbon, % 12.7 15.7Ash, % 20.6 1.3Lower Calorific Value (MJ/kg) 11.7 18.8Three designs of biomass briquette-fired stoves suitable forinstitutional kitchens or cottage industries are studied in this
paper. They are: i) a gasifier stove, ii) a two-stage top burningstove, and iii) a charcoal making stove.
3.1 Gasifier stove
For preliminary studies, a cross flow gasifier stove was designedand tested. Based on the test results, the design was improved anda final design arrived at (Figures 1,2). The most important part of the stove, the base (lower part) was constructed of brick and a fewpieces of steel plates. The hopper allowed extended operationwithout frequent loading of fuel. The stove could be ignited fromthe bottom by opening the ash pit door and using a flame torch. Asteel net was provided at one side of the combustion zone to letprimary air in. A curved channel section was fixed to the stovebase for primary airflow into the stove. The chimney consisted of 2-3 segments. The bottom segment attached to the stove was 30cm tall. Among the rest two segments, one was 30 and the otherone was 20 cm tall, both being detachable. Inside surface of all thesegments were insulated by fire clay. On the top of the chimney,three small bars were welded to allow a pot to rest on it. The stovecould accommodate flat or spherical bottomed vessels of 15-25cm diameter.Small pieces of briquettes/wood could be loaded into themetallic hopper from the top. The top cover of the hopper wasclosed tightly so that there was no air leakage. For start-up, thefuel had to be ignited from the bottom of the stove. A flame torchwas held below the grate by opening the ash pit door. A fewminutes later briquettes were ignited, the bottom layer first.Figure 1: The Gasifier StoveDuring start-up, considerable amount of smoke generated fromthe stove. Flame appeared inside the chimney after it becameheated enough to establish a steady draft of air through the stove.Figure 2: Gas burner details
3.2 Charcoal making stove
This was a single pot, portable metallic stove as shown inFigures 3,4 and 5. It consisted of two concentric cylinders, withannular space in between; the annular space was covered at thetop permanently, with a mild steel sheet, by welding. Briquetteswere loaded vertically in the annular space from the bottom of thestove, and the bottom of the annular space was covered with aremovable metal lid. The inner cylinder had a grate at the bottomthrough which air entered the stove. It also had some small holesat its surface to allow pyrolysis gas to enter into the combustionzone. The pyrolysis gas would be burned inside the stove forcooking. The stove was insulated externally by ceramic fibreinsulation. The stove could accommodate spherical or flat-bottomed vessels of 20-30 cm diameter. The entire stove stands onthree legs that hold it about 15 cm above the ground to allow freeprimary air access.Figure 3: Loading briquettes in Charcoal Making Stove
For startup, the inner cylinder of the stove was loaded from thetop with some charcoal, and was ignited (For consequent use of the stove, the charcoal produced during the previous run of thestove was used). As briquettes placed in the annular space start topyrolyse, the pyrolysis gas enters the combustion zone through thesmall holes in the wall of the inner cylinder, and burns. WhenFigure 4: Fixing the bottom coverFigure 5: Combustion in the Charcoal Making Stovepyrolysis is complete, i.e., when all the briquettes get pyrolysed,the flame dies, and charcoal remains in the annular space. Thischarcoal may be used for the next run of stove use.
3.3 Two-stage top-down burning stove
Based on the experience with the preliminary design, a simpledurable design was developed as shown in Figures 6-9. The stoveconsisted of two identical stages. Two empty paint cans of five USgallon capacity were used to make this stove. There was a grate atthe bottom of each stage to hold fuel above it. Primary air couldenter through the bottom of each stage. Secondary air entersthrough several 1 cm holes located at the middle of the stage. Touse as a two-stage stove, one stage is placed above the other one.Four supports were provided at the top of each stage for thispurpose. Inside surface of each stage was insulated by fire clay toreduce heat loss to the surrounding. The stove could accommodatespherical or flat-bottomed vessels of 20-30 cm diameter. Theexternal diameter of the stove was 29 cm and height of the two-stage stove 34 cm. Both small and large pieces of briquette couldbe used as fuel in this type of stove.
Option 1(briquette pieces):
Biomass briquettes were cut into smallpieces to burn in this option of stove operation.Single stage operation: The stove can be loaded completely orpartially depending upon the desired duration of operation. On topof the fuel bed, some kindling materials, e.g. small pieces of drywood soaked with kerosene (Figure 7) were placed.Double stage operation: In this case, the lower stage was loadedcompletely such that the fuel touches the grate of the upper stage.For combustion to propagate from the upper stage to the lowerstage, this is very important. The upper stage can be loaded half orfull, depending on the desired duration of stove operation. Afterloading the upper stage, some small pieces of dry wood wereplaced at the top for kindling.Continuous operation: By fully loading both the two stages, up toabout three hours of operation is possible. If the stove is to be runfor more than three hours, the two stages of the stove should befully loaded as in double stage operation. About one and a quarterhour later, the top stage should be removed and refilled withpieces of briquette; it is next placed below the other stage. Forcontinuous operation the upper stage should be removed, refilledand reused as bottom stage in this way. Normally after one roundof refilling, the stove could be operated for about 1 hour and 15minutes.
Option 2 (whole briquette):
Large pieces of briquette (20-25 cm)can also be burned in this stove. Briquettes could be placedvertically inside the stove. The top 4-5 cm vacant space should befilled up with small pieces of briquette. For starting combustion,kindling should be placed as mentioned in option 1.Combustion could be started by igniting the kindling by a matchstick or a cigarette lighter. Briquettes get ignited within a fewminutes. Combustion of the fuel propagates from the topdownwards. It was observed that the combustion was very clean,

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