Fanning the flames on biomass fuel cookstove research

Graduate students Brian Gumino and Jonathan Barnes have been working with Associate Professor Nicholas Pohlman from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Paul Wever of Chip Energy to find a more efficient way of cooking with fire using a gasifier cookstove.

Their research has been reviewed 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 natural fire is common practice due to a lack of advanced cooking technologies, gas fuel or electricity. Cooking over a natural 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 local resources that may be available.

Brian Gumino and Jonathan Barnes started their research in 2011 as part of a  class study while they were undergraduates. “They continued with their research and they were finally able to publish the work,” said Pohlman.

Ideally, Pohlman would like to see the research advance 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 this can be accomplished, the stove’s design could have a significant impact in areas where communities have limited resources.

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