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Dordt College News

Two seniors design biomass stove for use in Zambia

January 19, 2011

First-year students aren’t the only ones on campus who are designing biomass cook stoves.

Two seniors are working with agriculture professor Dr. Ron Vos in collaboration with Northrise University in Zambia to design a stove using the abundant grasses that grow there rather than cutting rapidly depleting trees. Deforestation results in environmental effects such as flooding, soil erosion, and droughts. The effort is the senior design project for Ian Kuipers and Stephanie Argo, whose goal is to design a product that could be manufactured and used in Zambia.

During his time at Northrise University, Vos has observed that using grasses, which are burned anyway, could give people a sustainable source for cooking fuel.  The TLUD stove would help burn off the polluting smoke and chemicals released and create charcoal that could be made into briquettes that could be used for additional cooking or heating.

“We are excited about and challenged by this project,” says Argo. “It’s exciting to be able to work with something that could potentially have a great positive impact on the economic, health, environmental, and social aspects of a group of people. However, it is challenging because we are trying to design something for a culture that we are not familiar with.”

Argo and Kuipers met with the president of Northrise and his wife when they were on campus in November for more input into their project. They understand that what they do this year will not be the grand solution to a great problem, but they hope that it might spark interest in Zambia and be developed further by local people who might use the biomass stove.


SALLY JONGSMA

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