Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Clay Stove replaces Kerosene stoves

A homemaker is cooking using a clay stove in Sonder village, Minahasa, North SulawesiRecently, clay stove has been getting more and more popular in Sonder, Minahasa, the Province of North Sulawesi. A homemaker needs three to five pieces of wood to cook rice, vegetables, and to fry fish for lunch. This is considered far cheaper than buying kerosene. Homemakers in Minahasa and other towns in Indonesia are asked by the government to replace their kerosene stoves with LPG stoves. Actually the price of a 3-kilogram LPG tank is quite cheap but the cost of transportation to remote villages makes it expensive. Therefore, people prefer to use wood as household fuel.
When firewood is not available, it can be substitute by coconut shells. Coconut shells are the side products of copra. Copra is the dried flesh of coconut which contains high percentage of edible oil. The soaring fossil fuel price has also triggered bio-diesel development using coconut oil as the raw material. So, coconut oil will not only be used as cooking oil but also as diesel oil. In the past, most of the the overstock of coconut shell was not used for biomass fuel. They are considered as waste. Villagers were reluctant to sell the shells to a factory because the cost of transport is high. Now, they use these shells as cooking fuel.

The design of clay stove is very simple. It is moulded from clay in a hollow box shape. One, where pieces of wood are inserted is rectangular whereas the other where the flame heat the cooking pan is circular. There are two clay stove producers in Sonder village, Minahasa. More clay stove producers are expected to grow in other villages of Minahasa regency. A clay stove is sold for Rp. 30,000 (equals to 3.2 US dollars).
Wet clay stoves, coming out of the mock-up are dried under the sun. Sometimes, a producer of clay stoves covers his products with plastic sheet when the sun ray is too hot in order to avoid cracks in them. The clay stoves are also covered when it rains as seen in the picture.
Rows of clay stove were covered with plastic sheets when they were being dried out-door.More clay stoves used by the villagers will be better for the local economy. The money spent by every household to buy wood, coconut shells, and clay stove, will only circulate within the villages instead of flying out to oil exporter countries. When more money circulates in the villages, the economic activities of the people will accelerate in spite of the oil crisis.
In most remote villages in Minahasa of Indonesia, the use of clay stoves is still common. Every household has at least two in their kitchen whereas in towns and cities across the Indonesian archipelago, most households use kerosene stoves. Below is the photograph of Kompor Hock, the most popular kerosene stove in this country. As you can see, they are made of aluminum with fuel tank installed at the bottom of the stoves. Clay stoves are not popular in big cities due to the size and lack of wood as fuel for cooking. In addition, housewives in the city prefer to have spotless kitchen with electrical or gas stoves installed in them. by Charles Roring
Although clay stove as wood has been modified to be more efficient and less smoky, it is still considered as an ancient or old fashioned cooking equipment. Indonesia is located in the tropical region where the temperature is quite high. Clay stove is used only for cooking. It is hardly ever used for room heating. So, you will not see a wood stove installation in every Indonesian house which you usually find in Western houses in Europe or the United States. There is now clay chimney for this stove either. Smoke comes out from the openings where pieces of wood are inserted.

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