September 23, 2022
Science Direct

Retrofitting stoves with forced jets of primary air improves speed, emissions, and efficiency: Evidence from six types of biomass cookstoves

Samuel Bentson, David Evitt, Dean Still, Daniel Lieberman, Nordica MacCarty

Incorporating jets of forced air into biomass cookstove combustion has been shown to potentially decrease harmful emissions, leading to a variety of designs in recent years. These have shown mixed success in terms of real-world performance, usability, and durability. The Jet-Flame forced draft retrofit accessory was recently developed to implement forced jets of primary air at a low cost into a wide range of types of cookstoves using a small 1.5-W fan housed in a low-cost cast iron body to be inserted beneath the fuel bed of a biomass cooking fire. This research sought to quantify the potential efficiency and emissions performance impacts of the Jet-Flame when installed in six different types of biomass cookstoves (three open or shielded fires and three rocket stoves) versus the natural draft performance of each. The effect of the operating fan voltage was also measured. A series of tests following a modified ISO 19867-1:2018 protocol were performed in the laboratory using the Aprovecho Laboratory Emissions Measurement System (LEMS) equipped with additional oxygen and temperature sensors. Results for each stove carefully tended with a single layer of sticks showed that the global average PM2.5 reduction with the Jet-Flame was 89 % relative to the natural draft cases, with larger relative improvements seen in the most rudimentary stoves. CO was reduced by a global average of 74 %, reaching tier 4 or 5 for all stoves. Thermal efficiency was also improved by 34 % when calculated without taking into account the energy content of the remaining char (or 21 % with char), illustrating the value of burning char to provide cooking energy rather than leaving it unburned in the combustion chamber as is common in many natural draft stoves. Time to boil was also reduced by 8 %. In addition, adjusting the voltage of the jet-flame assisted in modulating firepower, improving the usability of the stove. These results indicate a strong potential for the Jet-Flame to help reduce emissions and fuel consumption in a wide range of cookstove designs at a relatively low cost or need for changes in behavior, fuel, or cooking device. The unit also provides enhanced usability in terms of ease of startup, cooking speed, low PM emissions at high power, and burning char. Additional studies are needed to measure performance in the field and under a variety of operational conditions.

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