Fanning the Flames on Biomass Fuel Cookstove Research

Graduate students Brian Gumino and Jonathan Barnes have been working with Associate Professor of mechanical engineering Nicholas Pohlman, Ph.D. and Paul Wever, of Chip Energy have been “putting the heat on” their research to find a more efficient way of cooking with fire with a “gasifier cookstove”.

Their research is reviewed in the article, “Design Features and Performance Evaluation of Natural-Draft, Continuous Operation Gasifier Cookstove” and published in the July issue of MDPI’s journal Clean Technologies.

The gasifier stove is a device that is beneficial to people living in areas where cooking over a stove is the common method because more advanced cooking technologies and gas fuel or electricity are not available. Cooking over a wood fire is difficult because the temperature and distribution of heat are hard to control. The gasifier stove allows better control of the heat for cooking with biomass fuel such as wood, leaves or other whatever local fuel is available.

The research was started by the students in 2011 when they were undergraduates as part of a class study. “They continued with their research and they were finally able to publish the work,” said Pohlman.

Ideally, Pohlman would like to see the research take on the next phase to develop a version of the stove with indigenous materials instead of steel. He is hoping to collaborate with other colleges within NIU and work with NIU’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders If so, the stove’s design could be very impactful in areas where communities have limited resources.


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