Entrepreneurial Approach To Fuel-Efficient Stoves

testing of a Beni prototype to check its efficiency

Putting aside the environmental benefits of reduced fuel consumption, unhealthy smoky conditions of institutional three-stone fire cooking along with its grave dangers of serious burns to cooks and food preparers, fuel-efficient stoves like the Beni offer consumers a cost-effective product and entrepreneurs a viable business.  To offer a beneficial and desirable product to an eager market should be the goal, if not the dream of any enterprise.  Jobs and opportunities created by producing locally, well-made, affordable, long-lasting fuel-saving institutional cookstoves using local pots that make smoky kitchens of the past is a such a goal.

Coordinating and pooling the talents of sheet-metal fabricators, local pot-makers and cast-iron foundries is key to launching such an institutional stove.  The bursars or those that hold the purse strings at schools, military barracks, maternity wards, hospitals, prisons are well-attuned to the costs of firewood/charcoal or other cooking fuels and their availability.   Convincing them first and, in turn, the cooks and kitchen staff is an optimum way to proceed in order to set alight the power of word-of-mouth recommendations.  Fuelwood management combined with the Beni that is tailored to local pots will bring about dramatic savings and multiple positive benefits: tidier, safer, cooler, and less smoky kitchens.   Initially the Beni Stove venture would approach a potential client with an ear for reason.  Their fuelwood purchases and use would be tracked.  With data in hand, a conservative demonstration would show how the Beni model, hand in hand with fuelwood management, could reduce fuel consumption by 60% to 75% (this is a conservative estimate).

The first step is to implement a new approach to the use of fuelwood, from the cutting and splitting to the stacking and storing of wood in a woodshed.  In conjunction with this imperative step, one would determine the number and size of stoves needed — according to the number and pot sizes already in use.  The second step is to adapt the site by building a plinth on which the stoves sit.  The plinth creates a distinct, and easy to clean space for cooking and makes it easier for the cook to light and feed the fire, since the fire door is raised.   Finally, the length of the chimney pipes would be determined by the height of the roof.

The key to success is creating a few well-monitored stove installations that other institutions can easily inspect.  When they see the benefits in terms of fuel-consumption, word will spread that there is a more desirable way to cook.

Feel free to contact me through the comments to brainstorm.

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