Although the toxic fumes they emit pose a serious health threat, open fires are still a common site in homes in resource-limited countries. Now Fraunhofer IBP has developed a new low-tech furnace that allows you to heat your home by burning trash – with absolutely no risk to human health or the environment.
In many places around the world, open fires are still the most common way that people cook food and heat their homes. All sorts of materials are used to feed the fires – from manure, wood and coal, to all types of plastics, including those from packaging waste. According to the WHO, due to the toxic fumes produced, this type of heat generation is one of the main causes of disease and death in several countries, with some four million people estimated to die prematurely as a result of it each year.
But now, the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) has developed a closed waste biomass combustion oven, WAFFCO (Waste Fuel Fume-Free Combustion) which enables materials such as wood and coal to be burned without any risk to health. Agricultural waste, household and even packaging waste can also be burned in an environmentally friendly manner using this type of stove. A simple but innovative double-curved chimney ensures the gases spend longer inside the system and improves the quality of the flue gas. The technology complies with German and European emissions and safety standards.
Waste as Fuel: Saving Time and Reducing Landfill
This stove is a prime example of killing two birds with one stone. While it turns household waste into a readily available fuel, meaning users waste no time sourcing other combustible materials, it also helps with waste management – a growing issue for many developing countries, where a lack of infrastructure means garbage often ends up on land or floating in the sea – to the detriment of health and environment.
Made primarily of clay and metal – that is, materials which are easy to be sourced – the WAFFCO is designed not only be accessible, but also easy to build in the very places where it is most needed. A first pilot is planned for Ghana, where Fraunhofer IBP will run workshops to train people to manufacture and sell the oven locally. The oven, which has a life-expectancy of ten years, is to be priced at between 30 and 40 USD, making it affordable within low-income communities.
This article was translated from the original article by Lydia Skrabania, which appeared RESET’s German platform.