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Rocket stoves built for third-world countries

After watching a demonstration from Mark Orchard, students in the Developing World class build rocket stoves. According to a testimonial on www.rocketstove.org, the use of rocket stoves decreased the amount of firewood used in two Zambian children’s centers by 75 percent. SCOTT AUSTIN | Scroll Photography
After watching a demonstration from Mark Orchard, students in the Developing World class build rocket stoves. According to a testimonial on www.rocketstove.org, the use of rocket stoves decreased the amount of firewood used in two Zambian children’s centers by 75 percent. SCOTT AUSTIN | Scroll Photography

Recently, BYU-Idaho students enrolled in the Developing World class had a chance to construct and cook on their own rocket stoves.

According to an article written by Shea Gunther on Mother Nature Network, a rocket stove is an efficient cooking source that harnesses the power of heat and combustion to create a very powerful and hot way to cook a meal.

“The ability to cook with the smallest-caliber fuel means not having to cut down a tree to feed your family,” Gunther said. “The design for the stove is simple, meaning it can be built quickly and easily using local materials.”

Mark Orchard, who teaches this Developing Worlds class, said smoke inhalation is the fourth leading cause of death in developing countries.

“Because of the very efficient use of fuel in rocket stoves, there is less smoke created from this cooking method,” Orchard said.

Richard Graham, a sophomore studying communication, is enrolled in Orchard’s Developing Worlds class.  He said when people use a three-brick system to build a stove to cook on, it is a very inefficient use of fuel and it creates a lot of smoke.

“Rocket stoves do not create a lot of smoke, which is better for the people,” Graham said.

Orchard said that most people in developing countries would usually have to go far from home to find enough resources to keep their fire burning, but because of how efficient a rocket stove is, not as many resources are needed to keep the stove going.

“Cooking on this stove out in the cold gave me a better appreciation for what we have here in America,” Graham said.

Orchard said that as other students were walking by and seeing what his students were doing, it became a teaching opportunity, a way for his students to reflect on and apply what they learned.

“There wasn’t anything about this that wasn’t a phenomenally cool experience,” Orchard said. “It was a great way from students to move what they learned from their head to their heart.”

Orchard said he worked with the engineering department on campus to design bricks in a certain shape that would help create the rocket stove into a chimney or a vacuum, focusing all the heat in one area, right where the pot goes.

He said BYU-I hopes to take the bricks and their molds to developing worlds, it will help them cook more efficiently and help the economy. People living in those countries can have a job by making earth and clay bricks with those molds.

“We are doing work in Paraguay. We have introduced this principle to the natives in Paraguay,” Orchard said.

Orchard said BYU-I will be taking a trip to Africa next April to assess their situation and see if they could benefit from rocket stoves built with BYU-I’s specially designed bricks.

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