Bangalore: Is it a
stove or a lamp? "It is actually both," says engineer-inventor
Anil Rajvanshi, developer of a dual purpose device that
simultaneously solves the twin problem of cooking and lighting in
rural homes that do not have electricity.
A lantern, which burns kerosene to produce bright light and also
doubles up as a cooking stove, is the latest invention from
Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) at Phaltan in
Maharashtra, a non-profit organisation that undertakes research in
agriculture, renewable energy, animal husbandry and sustainable
"The hybrid device christened 'lanstove' (lantern combined with
cook stove) provides excellent light and cooks a complete meal of
rice, dal and vegetables for a family of five and boils 10 litres
of water for drinking -- all in four hours," NARI director
Rajvanshi told IANS.
"To our knowledge, it is the first such device where both lighting
and cooking are combined together resulting in tremendous energy
efficiency and saving of fuel," Rajvanshi, a graduate of Indian
Institute of Technology in Kanpur, said.
"Also because of the excellent combustion in lanstove, kerosene
becomes a very clean fuel for rural households - almost equivalent
Chapattis can be made on a specially designed griddle (tava) put
over the lanstove. While mothers cook, children can do their
school work in the bright light from the lantern.
The kerosene-fuelled lanstove is a newer version of a device
running on ethanol-water mixture that NARI had developed earlier
for which it won the prestigious Global Award for 2009 from
While the pressurised kerosene vapour lights up the mantle
(similar to the one used in a petromax lamp) producing as much
light as from a 300 watt bulb, the hot gases leaving the lantern
turn the device into a cooking stove by utilizing the principle of
a heat pipe, Rajvanshi said.
The lanstove stores the kerosene fuel in a pressurized cylinder,
eliminating the need for frequent pumping as required in the case
of existing kerosene stoves.
Rajvanshi's technical paper on the two-in-one device has been
accepted for presentation in the 2011 Indoor Air Conference (June
5-10) in Austin, Texas (US).
Besides the nine-litre pressurised kerosene cylinder, the lanstove
consists of the high light output lantern (mantle lamp) and a
steam cooker (with three or four pots). The items are made of mild
steel and stainless steel.
Lanstove is smokeless, noiseless and emits no smell or soot unlike
regular kerosene lanterns or stoves, Rajvanshi said. Besides, it
is easy to use -- a rotating valve controls the light output and
hence, heat from the lanstove.
According to NARI, the present cost for three pieces of lanstove
is Rs.6,000-7,000 -- which it says will come down drastically in
mass production. The running cost is an estimated to be Rs.312 per
month at a kerosene price of Rs.13 per litre.
Rajvanshi said that about 60 percent of rural population in India
lives without electricity and they annually consume 200 million
tonnes of biomass for cooking using primitive stoves. The old and
inefficient kerosene lanterns used by them produce inadequate
light, he said.
"With the existing level of kerosene consumption in India,
lanstove can drastically improve the quality of life of 180
million bottom of the pyramid people in rural and urban areas."
He said the NARI kerosene lanstove has been tested in 16 homes in
rural areas around Phaltan, including seven huts, which had no
electricity and there are plans to do large scale test marketing
of this device in rural India.
"I have applied to the government Department of Science and
Technology (DST) for putting 100 units in the field," Rajvanshi
told IANS. "Our proposal is still pending (with DST)."
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