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Centre for Energy Studies (CES)


Date: 27
December, 2012

TITLE: Determining the efficiency of improved cooking stove
OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficiency of improved cooking stove and to analysis over the
performance of stove
- One pot hole mud improved cooking stove with chimney,
- Thermometer,
- Pot,
- Wood,
- Water,
- Weighing balance,
- Stop watch
- Ash collector etc.

An improved cooking stove is a stove that needs far less biomass to cook the same amount of
food than a traditional one and consequently produces also far less smoke than a traditional
stove. There is no international definition for the exact fuel savings that are necessary that a
stove can be considered as an improved stove. However, it is usually admitted that an improved
stove should save about 50% of the biomass in field test (different from laboratory ones) and/or
reduce considerably the phenomenon of Indoor Air Pollution due to bad combustion (production
of smoke).
The smoke is a product of incomplete combustion in the stove. Improved cook stoves reduce
considerably the smoke, either by having a far better combustion or by have an excess of air or
with a combination of both. The phenomenon of Indoor Air Pollution causes the death of about
1.5 million people every year according to the World Health Organization. The massive health
problems created from Indoor Air Pollution are also underlined by the important number of
people who suffer all live long from lung cancer or other diseases. A lot of people suffer from
respiratory problems all their life long because since they are babies, they inhale smoke from
inefficient cook stoves in their dwelling. In Africa for instance, women always carry their babies
on there back while they are cooking. Rising health costs and unproductive workers might be a
consequence of Indoor Air Pollution.

Figure 1 improve cooking stove
A modified version of the traditional cooking stove is the Improved Cook Stove (ICS). Certain
features have been modified to make them more efficient with respect to fuel wood consumption,
make them convenient for cooking and much safer from a health point of view.
Improved cook stove (ICS) can be used for the same cooking purposes as its traditional
counterpart. They can be used for cooking meals, boiling water and for cooking animal feed. ICS
can even be used for space heating by adding a cast iron/mild steel plate put tight over the pot-
holes for the pots or by putting a metal pipe around the space/room to make the hot air pass
round the room through the pipe before going out through the chimney. ICS can be used for
heating water by attaching a back boiler on the side or around the chimney pipe.
The improvements of ICS compared to the traditional stove are:
- The closed stove results in a higher efficiency of energy conversion and more safety
- A chimney leads the smoke out of the kitchen resulting into smokeless kitchen
environment and health improvement.
- The two pot-hole stove allows cooking with two pots leading to saving of cooking time
and fuel.
- An ICS can even be used for space heating by adding a cast iron/mild steel plate fixed
tightly over the pot-holes of the stoves or by using a metal chimney which radiates heat to
the ambient environment.
- ICS can be used for heating water by attaching a back boiler to the side or around the
chimney pipe.
- Rural people have readily accepted ICS as the design hardly needs any change in cooking
- ICS can be made of local materials and installed by the villagers themselves.
- It is cheap and easy to operate.
- There is no need to blow the fire.
- It can be made in different sizes and capacities to suit the family size and pot size.
- It can have one or more openings for pots/pans.
- There is no smoke in the kitchen.
- Cooking pots/pans are less darkened with soot deposits.
- Sanitation conditions inside the kitchen are much improved. There is much less risk of
household fire or children burning themselves.
- It is convenient for the women and safer for children. It reduces both the time spent for
collection and purchase of fuel wood and makes easy for cleaning pots and pans after


Water boiling test:

The waterboiling test is a laboratory test, which can be used to compare the performance of two
or more stoves under similar controlled conditions, or the same stove under different conditions.
It simulates the boiling/simmering type of cooking to some extent only. As a result, it does not
necessarily reflect the actual stove performance, when food is cooked. A known quantity of
water is heated on a cook stove. The volume of water evaporated after complete burning of the
fuel is determined.


The heat utilization efficiency of cooking stove is given by

( ) ( )
efficiency = 100%
(29000 )
1 0.01
w m f i e
fw f
S W t t L W


` (

= Specific Heat of water
= Weight of Water Taken Initially
tf = Final Temperature of Water
ti = Initial Temperature of Water
L = Latent Heat of Water
We = Weight of Water Evaporated
Efw = Calorific Value of Firewood
Wf = Firewood Used
C = Mass of Charcoal Left
= Moisture Content on Wood

In calculating the efficiency, the following numerical values were used.
Specific heat of water (S
) = 4.18 kJ/kg
Latent heat of water at boiling (L) = 2260 kJ/kg.
Calorific value of firewood (heat value of fuel) (E
) = 16500 kJ/kg
Calorific value of charcoal (heat value of kindling) = 29 MJ/kg
Moisture content () = 15%

- About 3 kg of wood fuel is collected for water boiling test.
- Weight of the dry cooking pot along with the lid is recorded.
- The cooking pot is then filled with approximately 5 kg of water.
- Cooking pot with lid is placed on top of potholder with minimal or no space between
base of the pot and potholder to prevent loss of heat through the openings.
- Time is immediately recorded.
- Then the initial temperature of the water in the pot is recorded.
- Then wood fuel is set into fire in the combustion chamber.
- Temperature of the water in the vessel is measured by thermometer in the interval of
every 5 minutes till the water started to boil. The vessel is covered with lid during this
entire process.
- Once the water attends its boiling temperature, the fire intensity of the wood fuel is
lowered (lower power phase) and the water is left for simmering for around 15 minutes
without lid to simulate actual cooking practice.
- Weight of the water left in the cooking vessel is measured in the weighing balance.
- Weight of the remaining fire wood is measure in the weighing balance.
- Weight of the charcoal left in the combustion chamber is also measure.
- Finally water is poured in the wash basin and the fire left in the combustion chamber is

Room temperature = 17
Initial water temperature (t
) = 18
Weight of fire wood taken = 3.0 kg
Weight of pot + lid = 0.850 kg
Weight of pot + lid + water = 5.850 kg
Weight of water taken (W
) = 5 kg

Temperature of boiling water at the interval of every 5 minutes
Duration (minutes) Temperature (
0 18
5 24
10 34
15 55
20 65
25 75
30 85
35 95

After boiling and simmering for 15 minutes
Weight of pot +lid + water = 5.70 kg
Weight of water evaporated at the end of test (W
) = (5.850-5.70) = 0.150 kg
Fire wood left = 1.4 kg
Fire wood used (W
) = 3.0- 1.4 = 1.6 kg
Coal left (C) = 0.250 kg


( ) ( )
efficiency = 100%
(29000 )
1 0.01
w m f i e
fw f
S W t t L W


` (


= 10.20 %
Graph of temperature of water at interval of time

Figure 2 graph between temperature and time

The experimental results are based on common data assumptions and are subjected to further
analysis for more precision. The firewood used might not have exactly 16500KJ/Kg calorific
value. It could be less, but for analysis purpose it has been considered so. This can be a reason
for comparatively less efficiency calculated. Another part to consider is its healthfriendly
performance which has substantially dropped the situations of health hazards and losses due to
uncontrolled fire.

During the experiments, we did not find the moisture content of wood experimentally. This can
cause errors in the efficiency calculation. Initially it took really long time for us to set fire and
there was no proper combustion of the fuel wood. In wood burning ICSs, sufficient air has to be
provided in order to achieve complete combustion. This is accomplished by providing sufficient
air openings in the firebox of naturally aspirating stoves. But during this test, experiment on
traditional cook stove was running in parallel and air was smoky. This will also reduce the
efficiency of ICS under test. In our Lab condition, chimney was not functioning properly and this
might cause error as well in calculation of efficiency. Also, whole the experiment was taken in
rough calculation compromising certain level of inaccuracy however it was considered to be one
of the analytical practical experiences.

After conducting this experiment, the heat utilization efficiency of ICS was found to be
approximately equal to 10.20 %. It took around 35 minutes for the pot with about 5 kg water to
boil. After comparison with the experiment for TCS, it will be decided about the differences in
the fuel efficiency (the amount of fuel required to boil same mass of water). Improved Cook
Stoves have been found healthfriendly, efficient in firewood consumption and resulting overall
kitchen work well & faster which can have multiple impacts on positive change of social