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Boiling Point No. 38 : Household energy in high cold regions

How do you define an efficient stove? For most people living in the South, it would be one which cooked food using a minimum amount of fuel in a reasonable amount of time. To achieve this, all the heat produced must be directed at the cooking pots and as little as possible lost to the surroundings. However, for those people living in cold, high regions, the stove may also be needed for heating the home. In these circumstances, heat lost to the surroundings is no longer regarded as waste heat. Any improved stove which is introduced in these regions must still provide space heating. Until recently, governments, programme planners, and researchers have failed to take this into account.

Many cold, high regions are desperately short of woodfuel for burning. Three-stone fires bum fuel inefficiently, providing less heat than a well-designed stove and producing large amounts of smoke. Because windows allow heat to escape, the rooms in these regions often have very little ventilation and the smoke cannot escape. This edition of Boiling Point looks at ways in which different areas have approached the problem of providing stoves which reduce wood consumption and smoke emission whilst providing space heating as well as heat for cooking

Boiling Point is a technical journal for those working with stoves and household energy.

It deals with technical, social, financial and environmental issues and aims to improve the quality of life for poor communities living in the developing world.


Map showing high cold regions

(Source Solar Heating in Cold Regions published by IT Publications)

Your new editor- Elizabeth Bates

Elizabeth has now taken over the editorial chair from me and is in full control of Boiling Point. She has a husband who works in industry, a daughter at university and two sons at school. In 1972 she gained a degree in mechanical engineering and in 1979 she received a doctorate in materials science from Liverpool University. Since then she has done much voluntary work for IT Rugby on our technical library systems and working as a freelance editor for IT Publications.

Although BP's basic role of 'helping stove workers' will remain unchanged, she will, no doubt, be providing new ideas and making changes to produce an even more informative and attractive journal. With your help, she hopes to establish the same friendly relationship with our many unpaid authors, old and new, throughout the seventy countries where BP circulates.

To make stove and household energy programmes more effective, we must also help to enlighten and encourage aid and funding organizations and individuals who are interested in the health and quality of life of women and their families who live close to or below the poverty level. We also work to help programmes to minimize the problems of atmospheric pollution which damages family health and contributes to global atmospheric degradation. Stoves and fuels are at the heart of the problem and will remain BP's main concern.

Please help Elizabeth by sending her your comments, suggestions, criticisms and articles or news. We look forward to Elizabeth being involved with BP for several years and I wish her success and enjoyment in the task.

Ian Grant

In reply....

Editing Boiling Point is an exciting and challenging task. I am very grateful for all Ian's help in the transition period and look forward to receiving articles and letters from anyone who is willing to put pen or keyboard to paper. I do not have Ian’s many years of experience so will be very grateful for any criticisms or arguments with any of the articles published in BP; so if you disagree with anything, please write and say so and I will publish your opinions. I look forward to a very lively letters section!

Ian said that I might have some ideas on which way BP would evolve. It is too early to be specific but to me a perfect article should:

• say something which you feel may be useful to others working in household energy

• have lots of good pictures or photos; some of the best pictures in BP are line drawings sent by the authors. We rarely publish articles without some sort of illustrations

• explain ideas and details (such as abbreviations) which may be obvious to the writer, but will not be to the reader

Even if you have never written an article before, do not be put off as the information is the important thing and it's good to give me some editing to do, so keep the articles coming!