Efficient fuel energy utilisation
Energy for cooking is a basic requirement of daily life. Women
in rural areas must travel long distances to collect fuel for cooking. Then they
spend long hours cooking in smoke-filled kitchens. Here are some ways to make
best use of fuel and minimize cooking time.
- Use round-bottomed pots on wood-burning chulhas. More heat can
be transferred to these as compared to flatbottomed pots.
- The diameter of the pot must be 1.5- to 2-times bigger than
the diameter of the chulha opening.
- Clean the pot bottom before use.
Fuel-saving cooking techniques
- Cook with the minimum quantity of water. If more water is
required during cooking, add hot water if possible.
- Keep the pot or pan covered with a plate or pot lid while
- Soak pulses, rice, etc., in water for at least half an hour
before cooking. Hard-coated legumes, such as lima beans, gram, and cowpea,
should be soaked overnight.
- Do not allow flames to come out the chulha's fire door.
- When cooking is complete, quickly remove unused fuel from the
fire chamber and douse the fuel with water. This wet fuel can be sun-dried and
Remember to cover your pot.
Smart fuel use
- Chop wood into small pieces, about 3 cm x 5 cm x 10 cm.
Do not over-feed the fire. Flames should not escape the fire box. This is a
waste of fuel.
- Use dry fuel. Otherwise, energy is wasted removing moisture
when the fuel is burned.
Place wood pieces at angles across the grate (if the chulha has
a grate) to allow air circulation.
Stack wood pieces across each other for better circulation.
If you are using long fuel sticks which protrude from the fire
box, keep them horizontal or tilted toward the centre of the grate by propping
up their outside ends with a brick.
When using light fuels such as twigs and straw along with wood,
bum the wood first to achieve a high temperature. Add the light fuels next for
their good combustion.
Dung should be used for composting. However, if some part of
your dung must be used for fuel, prepare fuel rods by coating dung over long
sticks. After they are dried in the sun, these fuel rods burn more efficiently
and produce less smoke than either wood or dung burned separately.
Producing fuel rods with dung and