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Vermiculite stoves save 75% energy

By Vision Reporter

Added 26th February 2006 03:00 AM

IN Uganda, vermiculite has been known for agricultural use only as a fertiliser, but it is beyond this importance. The mineral, solely mined by a Canadian company, Canmin Resources in Namekhara Mbale district, is now used for making stoves that save energy by over 75%.

IN Uganda, vermiculite has been known for agricultural use only as a fertiliser, but it is beyond this importance. The mineral, solely mined by a Canadian company, Canmin Resources in Namekhara Mbale district, is now used for making stoves that save energy by over 75%.

By Kiganda Ssonko

IN Uganda, vermiculite has been known for agricultural use only as a fertiliser, but it is beyond this importance. The mineral, solely mined by a Canadian company, Canmin Resources in Namekhara Mbale district, is now used for making stoves that save energy by over 75%.

Mohammed Kawere, the managing director of the Urban Community Development Agency (UCODEA), a company making the vermiculite stoves and other domestic items in Kibuye in Makindye division, said the stoves are made with vermiculite mixed with clay.
Kawere said the stoves are environmentally friendly and can also last between five to 10 years.

“In making the stoves, we mix 75% of vermiculite with 25% of clay to create a relatively light, but fire resistant body that keeps fire for a long time. Vermiculite doesn’t burn completely unlike clay or other soil types, so this makes it stronger in keeping heat,” says Kawere who makes over 100 stoves everyday.
He says the stoves are efficient, fuel saving and economical. They don’t produce smoke, even when firewood is used, they are affordable and safe to use.

Kawere says the ordinary stove, where the interior is made of clay and exterior metal, loses heat at 700 degrees centigrade whereas the vermiculite stoves lose heat at 70 degrees centigrade.

“If you put firewood or charcoal in these stoves, higher heat would be produced to enable real burning and give complete combustion which reduces indoor pollution and smoke,” he says.

Kawere says the stoves are made in five types, which include the household charcoal stove, the household firewood stove, the institutional rocket stove, mobile baking oven and fixed institutional stove.

“The fire sections where charcoal or firewood are placed are made of vermiculite and clay. Vermiculite prevents heat loss meaning all the heat from the fire section goes direct to where the pan sits. The stoves are made with their exteriors covered with metal. This metal doesn’t weaken easily because it doesn’t get heat so fast unlike the clay ones which allow heat penetration through the sides,” says Kawere.

The household charcoal and household firewood stoves are small and largely used by families of few people.

“With these, one uses a quarter of the charcoal or firewood used in the ordinary stoves,” he says.

The institutional rocket and fixed institutional stoves and the mobile or fixed baking ovens are ideal for those cooking food for many people, for instance schools, hospitals, barracks or refugee camps.

Tom Kasule, the deputy headmaster of Gayaza Junior School , where the fixed institutional rocket stoves are being used, says his school was formerly using between five and six lorry-fuls of firewood for a term but now only three are used.

“About three years ago we could use six lorry-fuls to cook for around 500 pupils. Although the number of pupils has increased to over 800 pupils, we use only three lorry-fuls of firewood to cook.

In terms of money its not a big saving, but it greatly protects the environment from where firewood,” Kasule says.

Vermiculite stoves save 75% energy

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