Something about these pictures sum up what I’ve been doing for the last 2 years of my life. Finally I am getting to see these stoves being used in family homes in the Himalayas. And the response from the kids is exactly what it should be…
‘Yeah, whatever. Warm is good. What’s for dinner?’
The whole point of this project is to make a stove where the impact in the home (in terms of usage) should be minimal, whereas the impact in the forest, the air and the wallet is significant.
By adapting existing technology already used and tested in other parts of the world to the Himalayan context is key to the success of this project. We want people to be able to use the stoves without having to change their habits. If they did, we know that it would not be as successful as it could be.
One of the key habits for many families is being able to sit on or near to the ground and make chapati on top of the stove. Wood fired heat is unique, as any baker will tell you. If you can make your bread in a wood fired oven, it has a special flavour. Same is true for chapati made on a wood fired stove. So this was our challenge. We knew we could make a stove that worked, was highly efficient, made almost no smoke, but it was still a bit high.
So this last week has been a breakthrough! We reduced the height from 26 inches down to 18, making it cleaner, hotter and easier to use in the process. We’re not finished innovating either. The ashtray is getting bigger, the exhaust system is getting mods that make it easier to light, and with adjustable heat flow control.
There seems to be no end to the ways we can keep on improving this, but right now, we know that we have a stove that as it is, will revolutionize the way people heat their homes in the Himalayas.
Stay tuned… this is only going to get better!