Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Rocket Mass Heaters, Rocket Ovens, Cold boxes, Solar collectors, etc..
Talk about your projects

Moderator: matt walker

Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby mannytheseacow » Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:33 pm

Greetings from the origin of civilization!

I'm working in NW Africa for a bit, promoting forest restoration as well as rocket stoves for cooking. Africa has an intense deforestation rate and the conversion to rocket stoves can have an incredible impact on both deforestation as well as the impacts from smoke from cooking on human health. The other great tangent to this project is teaching the techniques to native people gives them the opportunity continue this work as their own business, instead of other people doing it for them.

The basis is continuing Hpmers clay/ash core mix and incorporating this mix into Matt's cast core design. So first of all, thanks guys for all your work.

We started the rocket stove business by making some test cores out of the various materials available here. Our results came up with the same results as hpmer, with clay/ash working the best. We can dig loads of clay from a dried river and inevitably have to pound them to bits and sieve them. This is hard work, but we have 20-30 people (including 3 or 4 women) which come every day to learn. Ash we are making in barrels which are normally used for bio-char and we have an endless supply of palm stems burn for ash.

I should have started by saying that there is literally nothing available here. Nothing pre-made, no stove pipe, little steel, all tools are crude or hand made, little water, etc. We get by though. Actually, it's quite nice.

We have crafted a basic form from tomato sauce cans which are widely available in the trash, and equate to just slightly larger than 6":
Image

Where I am staying, we are creating two large cooking areas, copying Donkey's design here:

http://donkey32.proboards.com/thread/1301/all-adobe-mud-cookstoves-ovens

Here is the start, with a core on each end, and planning, from left to right, a cob oven, a hot water boiler, a griddle, and two pot burners:
Image

For this project we are making some plywood cores, though plywood is only available to wealthier people here. Here's our form building crew, we managed three core molds and a reusable outer form from a single sheet ($15us):
Image

In the evenings I have been rebuilding an old derelict stove. It had sort of an L shape but was incredibly crude, the dimensions were all wrong, and it was made of metal. It turned into a little J, slightly under 5 inches. We gave it the first fire today and boiled potatoes in 16 minutes:
Image

In the forest, we are planting an introduced tree species to become a community woodlot using the Gmelina arborea tree planted on a 3m x 3m spacing. Using some calculations, 1 hectare can provide fuel for 5000 people for a year, assuming a 10kg daily wood usage, and one stove feeding 15 people (which is the case here). A 20 ha planting can provide fuel in perpetuity, assuming 0% population growth, which is not realistic.

I hope to post more once I have better internet access, with better construction details of all the different stove builds, along with their performance.
"Knowledge is power. Arm yourself."
User avatar
mannytheseacow
 
Posts: 940
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:40 am

Re: Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:27 pm

That is a Great Project, and Great work young man. There is so much need there, and quite frankly, all over Africa that they need to learn everything they can. The reforestation of Sub-Sahara Africa will have long reaching effects for the entire world. Cooking fires are the largest source of pollution in Africa and Asia . Converting to Rocket stoves for cooking is a huge way to make a difference. And in addition to all that, the quality of life is greatly improved. Having people walking out of town to gather firewood from ever increasing distances is a very labor intensive task. By planting renewable resources close to the village it will make a huge difference. I commend your hard word, and your efforts. You are truly being the change that we all want to see in the world. Keep up the good work.
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
User avatar
pa_friendly_guy
 
Posts: 1502
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:24 pm
Location: SW Pa They changed me to zone 6a what ever that is. I still figure zone 5

Re: Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby matt walker » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:16 pm

Manny, thanks so much for taking the time to update us on your progress. I can't tell you how good that feels to see those core molds sitting there, and to hear that the technology is really going to make a difference for those folks. The tree planting, combined with better fuel usage, I mean, man, you are really making a difference. Thank you, and have fun!
User avatar
matt walker
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1804
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:50 pm
Location: North Olympic Peninsula

Re: Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby hpmer » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:10 pm

Hey Manny,

Great job! Glad to see you putting your skills to literally improving the world.

I can't see your pics on my phone for some reason but will log onto my computer later.

Funny you should mention the tomato cans. Just today I'm going to start work on my sap warmer stove for the maple syrup season and, since I don't have enough ash accumulated for a "J", I'm going to build an "L" instead. I'm going to build it in a small, old garbage can and use the same 6" cans for the inner form.

Donkey gets the credit for the mix idea, but it works great. I've taken to chopping up long thin grass leaves to mix in in place of the straw to help prevent cracking, so you might consider doing the same.

Watch out for crocs and hippos as you gather your clay in the river. I hear they can really ruin your day.
User avatar
hpmer
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:59 am

Re: Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby hpmer » Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:39 am

Manny,

Rather than trying to break up the dry clay, try soaking the clay for a day or two and then mix it up. A LOT less work than beating it into submission. I used to start with dry clay but it's a lot more work that way, so I've switched over to the wet version. Plus, you have to mix it with water anyway so you can skip a whole step. And, if you're dealing with a straight clay, you may not even have any rocks or roots to screen out.

Try it. I think you'll like it. ; )
User avatar
hpmer
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:59 am

Re: Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby mannytheseacow » Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:48 pm

Thanks for the support guys. We are firing stove #3 tomorrow and starting on #4. The internet connection is not good for uploading photos now though.

I tried soaking the clay right off the bat and the large chunks will just sit there in the water. It's not so bad pounding it. We have a lot of labor and the quality of the clay is outstanding. The ash is a problem- we can't seem to keep up as fast as we are using it. I'm adding palm petioles to two lit barrels about every hour of the day but they burn up quickly and the slowly reduce. The resulting ash still has a bit of charcoal in it. Two barrels fired all day results in about a wheel barrel of ash.

I like mixing the sifted clay with ash first and then hydrating the mixture to keep it as dry as possible. It seems to be working, anyway!
"Knowledge is power. Arm yourself."
User avatar
mannytheseacow
 
Posts: 940
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:40 am

Re: Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby hpmer » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:24 pm

The clay chunks won't dissolve by themselves but they're easier to mush up with your fingers or a paint mixer once they've had enough soak time.

But, if what your doing is working, then great.

I've found paper produces more ash than anything else I've tried. I use office paper that's been shredded. About an hour's worth of burning clogs up my 8" stove, and yields an amount equal to about one of those 6" cans you're using. No question about it though, as good as it is to work with, obtaining enough quantity to work with is an issue.

Maybe the villagers can save it up for you from their daily fires? Just make sure it doesn't sit in the rain as the water will wash away some of the properties that make it work.
User avatar
hpmer
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:59 am

Re: Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby mannytheseacow » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:33 pm

You have given some great advice, Hpmer, and we have been taking it! You have saved us quite a bit of time and so far the performance is good.

This is my first reliable internet connection in a while so I am going to give a quick update before taking care of some other business, hopefully before the connection is lost.

We have finished 4 cores so far, the biggest of project of which is this behemoth:
Image
There are 3 pots and a griddle, with a big oven going in at the left side.
Image
We just started on the oven today. Once that is in we just have to finish cobbing the chimney and give it a final coat of plaster. The locals did a fantastic job decorating it with shells and broken shell pieces. They really took ownership of it and I just let them run with it. It is such an inspiring culture. And they are using it every day, so they are adapting to the technology quickly.

The biggest success story is that four people have split from our learning sessions everyday to start building stoves in the village. After I finish here on the computer I'm heading into the village to see what they have come up with. I'm so stoked to see what is developing. All I'm doing is showing them the basics of stove design and they are doing all the design, so it's really amazing to see.

I also can't emphasize enough how awesome this clay/ash mix is working. It's just really amazing. My fireclay/vermiculite/firecement casts at home have nothing on this stuff. It's just really durable, little cracking, great insulation. Good stuff.

The little block stove that I rehabbed and posted the photo of before is getting used almost every day. There are people using it to make tea, heat wax for candles, making jewelry... it's so awesome seeing this stuff getting used.
"Knowledge is power. Arm yourself."
User avatar
mannytheseacow
 
Posts: 940
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:40 am

Re: Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby matt walker » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:43 pm

Wow, that is gorgeous. Can't wait to see the oven on there. This is awesome Manny, thanks so much for the updates and photos, it is greatly appreciated.
User avatar
matt walker
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1804
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:50 pm
Location: North Olympic Peninsula

Re: Matt, Donkey & Hpmer Inspire Africa

Postby hpmer » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:54 pm

Wow, Manny, that's awesome!!

Glad to hear you are having such great success. And a pretty good looking final product too. Hopefully it works as good as it looks!

I assume from your comment about saving a bunch of time that you are now soaking the clay first?? If so, just make sure you remix it well before using as the sand and other heavier items will settle out pretty quickly and that will change its properties as you work with it.

Incidentally, it's also a great way to get pure clay. Just break everything up, mix it up really well and let it sit for a while (minutes to hours). The clay will stay suspended in the water after everything else settles out. Then, simply pour off the clay/water mix and then let it settle out. This step could take days depending on the clay. Once the clay settles out, pour off the layer of water left on top and you're left with pure clay, no additives, no nothing. Then you can add back in sand or other items in known quantities to get exactly the qualities you want.

Pretty amazing stuff.

In any event, glad to hear things are going so well. Are you there on your own or as part of a church group or something? Either way, I'm sure the locals are sure glad you came. Life changing ideas to them for sure.
User avatar
hpmer
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:59 am

Next

Return to Heating and Cooling

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron