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Wow… October was a big month for the project. The production side was a bit slow in some ways, but in terms of overall progress, I’m really please with what we’re achieving here. I’ll itemise some of the highlights:

  1. I held a one week workshop for locals to share the information and practical skills we’ve developed with regards to making rocket stoves from easy to source local materials (clay, straw, sand, puffed rice). There were 3 men who came especially from Kashmir to attend this training, as well as 3 students from Secmol, a visiting architect from Mumbai, and a student volunteer from the USA.
  2. During the workshop, we explored the fundamentals of rocket stove design and how to use local materials to make incredibly cheap smokeless cook stoves (massive implications here, we are looking for a separate grant to take this project to a much wider audience in a non-profit capacity.)
  3. We also made a thermal mass heater and a rocket fired pizza oven, demonstrating the wide range of uses of rocket stove technology. Everyone got to experiment with their own ideas and explore concepts in a practical hands on way.
  4. We also had a visit by a large SECMOL student and volunteer group (about 35 people) who received a condensed version of the workshop over an hour.
  5. The design of the workshop stoves just keeps improving and as a result I’ve been able to build a workshop manual based on our latest, most efficient designs that will be the reference manual for all new production.
  6. LEDeG (the Ladakh Ecological Development Group) where I’ve been doing the test production has just recently elected a new board and they are looking for ways to invigorate the organisation. Many of the new board members have been down to the workshop to see what we’re doing and talk to me about the project.
  7. I’ve offered LEDeG the opportunity to partner with the Himalayan Rocket Stove project in a Joint Venture that will involve ongoing production of the stoves through the winter, providing local employment and an ongoing income for the organisation. This JV will service Ladakh exclusively.
  8. Meanwhile, I’ve decided to move down to Chandigarh (as per the original plan) and to see about setting up a more streamlined production process that will allow the project to mass produce and service a far greater region of the Himalayas. I will be setting up camp down there in the next week and this will allow me to assess the ease of production in an industrial location.
  9. Various other test projects are also underway, including ongoing exploration of high temperature waste disposal. I will blog about that separately as I come to some final conclusions about this for the year.

Overall, this period of field testing, prototyping and design refinements in Ladakh has been invaluable for accelerating the process of coming up with a viable product that will serve the Himalayan people in a real and productive way.

Requests for these stoves are already coming in from Darjeeling, Nepal, Everest Base Camp region, Shimla, Kashmir, Manali, Spiti, Dharamsala and more… just based on the word of mouth from the few people who have seen or heard about them. I am very confident that these stoves will make a difference to the lives of many people, saving a large number of trees and reducing airborne pollutants in the process.

The production through November will continue to make stoves that will be donated to a range of institutions like schools, nunneries, old people’s homes and the like in Ladakh. The roads are already closed from here to Himachal Pradesh, so production from the Chandigarh base will then service these other regions as we bring this online in the coming month.

Stay tuned!

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