[Stoves] Re: Stove race between CONTEXTERS & CERTIFIERS

Dear All    (because this is far more than just about what Cecil and others have written thus far (see below)),

[[ Note:  This message and selected others are posted (within a day) in the EPosts section  of my website:   www.drtlud.com  ]]

1.  Cecil made a great characterization that clearly sets the two perspectives:  Contexters and Certifiers.

2.  Thanks for the wonderful historical note about how the now-discredited Lorena stove was a shared starting point for both sides.

3.  Please save you money (and the million dollars can go to better purposes) because:
A.  The two sides will never agree on the ground rules to determine victory. 
B.  Even if 15 or 150 leaders on EACH side would agree, there can be no forcing of acceptance of the results upon everyone.
C.  What is decided in the Xhosa region will not transfer to other regions.
D.  The real result is predictable:  there are SOME merits to BOTH sides.

4.  But the mere idea of a shoot-out is stimulating.   Some readers of this Stoves Listserv are probably hoping for numerous casualties on both sides.   Maybe at least the shooting  (or is it shouting?) will diminish.   Or it could revert to WW I trench warfare with a stalemate? 

5.  Do I care which side wins or loses?   Of course I do.  There is much at stake.   But the result must be partial victory for both sides.  

6.  What is in question is how much either side is willing to compromise to assist the other side.  I suspect very little WILLING compromise, but reality will eventually set in and changes could result.  Budgets will be altered, with both winners and losers.  The Pro-Certifiers (tests and standards advocates) who currently get disproportionately more money, will feel a pinch (IMO).  This will occur if Certifier methods EITHER A) are given less emphsis, OR B) are finalized and accepted. 

7.  But is the Contexters who are disadvantaged with every month of delays.

8.  Personal story:  I was at Aprovecho Stove Camp 2004 when Tami Bond, Damon Ogle and Dale Andreatta were working on the first testing equipment, and at Stove Camp 2005 when the PEMS first became functional.   Testing allows us to compare stoves and the impact of changes to a stove.   In that first year of use (2005), the clean-cooking stove competition was won (clearly won over Rocket and other stoves) by my TLUD micro-gasifier stove design, which I promptly named “Champion”.  Without the stove testing capabilities, there would have been no recogniton  and no justification for the decade of continuing TLUD efforts.  In some ways, TLUD stoves owe everything to stove tesing.   But too many years were spent chasing emission numbers, when in reality the important work is to have the stoves into use (which is thankfully happening now with current great success in West Bengal, India).   (continue….)

9.  But stove testing took a turn toward establishing standards.  And standards became a “health issue” dictated from outside of the stove community.   And LPG (and electricity) set the ultimate standards so high that efforts for TLUD stoves have suffered.   The “perfect” (fossil-fuel industry-supported LPG) has indeed become the enemy of the “very good” (TLUD stoves) and of the “somewhat good” (Rocket stoves).   But the world still needs to replace over 500 million bad stoves for which there is documented evidence that the solid dry biomass fuels are the only ones realistically available and affordable and sustainable. 

10.  So, I am a Contexter who defends stove testing but not stove standards.


Doc  /  Dr TLUD  /  Prof. Paul S. Anderson, PhD  Email:  psanders@ilstu.edu  Skype:   paultlud    Phone: +1-309-452-7072  Website:  www.drtlud.com
On 9/3/2017 8:03 AM, alex english wrote:


Dear Cecil,

You have force drafted your oxygenarian wizdom and wittles into this combustible stove community with a call for a million dollar olympic competition. Please elaborate on your last paragraph. What did the SA appropriate stove community come up with for the Xhosa region?
Any online documents? Where is the bar set to begin? How high must Sir Stills, Lord Pemberton-Pigott and the rest-less jump.
I have a few bucks for the crowdfun campaign.

On Sun, Sep 3, 2017 at 7:34 AM, Cecil Cook <cec1863@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Ron (AKA Sir Galihad or Sir Lancelot?) and stovers of the world,

Is it not time for us to unite, because we have nothing to loose but our many cited “absurdities”. From the periphery – where I am right now with terrible internet connectivity problems – in woebegone Transkei this battle of stove testers and stove standards wonks  – seems downright tragic.

With a tip of my hat to Arnold Tyonbee, the food fight taking place on the stove discussion list over how best to test stove performance is a microcosm of why American “civilization” is in deep trouble. Let me try to explain my personal take how we have gotten into this pathetic battle royal. And yes the fault lies on all sides. Our predicament in the household stove community is that we appear to be trapped in the same destructive dynamics of insiders and outsiders which has already wrecked the ANC

It all starts back in 1984 when Crispin and I and a Mrs Cina (C is it sucking dental click sound in the Xhosa language spoken in the Transkei region of South Africa) dutifully followed the instructions in a book by Ianto Evans from the pre Dean Stills APROVECHO INSTITUTE about the Lorena Stove.  I think this may have been CPP’s first foray into stove making. He may correct me on this point ….he often does that!

For the record we mixed sand and clay and learned how to cast and carve many different shapes and sizes of Lorena stoves, fire boxes, pot holes, tunnels between pot holes, chimneys, and all to no avail because it took such a long time to heat up the mass of sand/clay. Time to boil was often half an hour or even longer. The fire boxes were too small and necessitated extra work splitting tree limbs into kindling.

The Lorena stove was a non starter in the Bantustan of Transkei. As the director of the Transkei AT Unit I was interested in the L stove because many babies get badly burned from falling into open cooking and heating fires located in the center of typical round mud brick houses with thatched grass rooves. The smoke filters out thru a space between the top of the wall and the pole roof trusses. Since people sit on low stools their heads are below the level where smoke is thick. Corn is tied in bunches and hung to dry over the roof timber trusses or on the walls. The smoke discourages flying insects in the summer months and limits the build up of roaches and terminates in the thatching grass.

Most cooking is done with large three legged cast iron pots with heavy lids of many sizes from 10 to 100 litres or bigger. Pots are often raised with bricks so big limbs or split logs up to 150mm can be fed into the fire under the 3 legged pots. 

Most cooking is done by boiling in these pots…even steamed bread is made in pots by boiling using a second pot. Cooking is also done outside in the hot months. A windbreak of clay bricks is constructed outside away from the house with 4 cooking bays created by two intersectiong walls high enough to shelter big pots (mid thigh).  Coals from a fire are often  placed on top of the lids and around the back of the pot to create a simple oven or accelerate boiling.

Women can spend several hours two to three times a week gathering 35 to 45kg head loads of dead limbs for their households….more in winter. In savannah areas with very few trees or wood lots women collect dried cow pies in feed bags in place of firewood.

I have taken time to sketch the stove/fuel/pot/cuisine/kitchen elements that together consttute the cultural and e environmental context of cooking, heating, and the other vital functions performed by fire, perhaps humankind most important technology.  Please remember that
fire qua technology is itself is a culturally produced and managed process. Stove use is a complex cultural process integrating many inputs and producing multiple outputs. It needs to be remembered that fire belongs to all of us. There are as many versions of fire and origin of fire myths as there are societies and professions.

Now to my point: there has been a call for a drawdow of two fisted stove making expertise. It is put up or shut up time…High Noon and stove armgeddon is upon us stoveres. I am personally challenging the GACC globalists,
the APROVECHO gang, the Berkeley Air boys, the EPA-WHO-GSF bunch, and the Ron Larson brigade to a STOVE RACE in the  Transkei region of the Eastern Cape province of the Republic of South Africa.

The other batallion will be the DISSENTING OTHERS, namely Crispin, Nikhil, Xavier, me, and anybody else who perceives the enormous gaps separating the hyper-modelers and
quantifiers AKA the SCIENCE CERTIFIERS from the other team known as the RADICAL CONTEXTERS.

The essence of the proposed shoot out at the OK Corral to take place with the assistance of the
Eastern Cape AT Unit in Mthatha would be to give each team $500 000 to research, design,  develop, produce & deploy the best performing and also the best accepted biomass stove. The two teams will specify the performance paramenters and testing equipment to be used and where questions emerge then both testing protocols will be used to test the lab and field performance of competing stoves.

However, a mutually agreed upon represtentative cross section of diverse stove users from the test area will constitute a de facto STOVE JURY that will vote for what they perceive to be the best stove for a well characterized target community of stove users. They will arrive at their judgment by applying their own folk values. They serve as a stove selection jury.
It makes sense to give the stove testing jurors an opportunity to purchase a subsidized test stove produced by the SCIENCE CERTIFIERS or a stove produced by the the RADICAL CONTEXTERS.  The willingness of the stove buying public to purchase a well CERTIFIED versus a well  CONTEXTUALIZED  stove becomes the ultimate STOVE SHOW DOWN. The value of building this final stage into a stove science and stove user assessment process combines these two distinct dimensions of stove performance.

We get this ultimate judgment of stove performance from the willingness of stove buyers to spend their own money together with the public subsidies on their PREFERRED STOVE. I am suggesting the inclusion of stove subsidies of no more than 50% to be paid on behalf of +/- 50 targeted households. The adding of a stove purchase option helps to measure the strength of the value proposition represented by the competing stoves developed and locally fabricated by the CERTIFIED and CONTEXTUALIZED stove development.

This test of household stoves developed by the CERTIFIED vs the CONTEXTUALIZED process of appropriate stove innovation will surely expose any short comings in either approach.

This proposed challenge to the dominant stove science and development paradigm will ground all the intellectual HP now wasted on scientific politics. Where will we find the $1 000 000 to host a stove shoot out in Eastern Cape region of South Africa where 35 years ago the Approvecho Institute’s “hippie” Lorena stove failed to displace the pre-existing fire technologies. The China fabricated StoveTec rocket stove failed utterly to establish itself in any South Africa market areas over the last 10 years because it failed the value proposition test.

So as a 80 year old hippie (I am actually an On the Road Beatnic) l am calling out the apparently incompetent citation happy American hippie stovers where ever you are to have a face down in a Xhosa Kraal. Are there any hippie stove scientist who are ready to prove that your certified stove science can actually innovate and fabricate one or more stoves which South African consumers judge to be appropriate for rural, peri-rural, and township markets??

Sir Stills can your gang of stove certifiers innovate household  stoves for the Xhosa region of SA that offers stove users & buyers in Xhosa-landia a robust “Value Proposition” strong enough to gradually gain and hold a significant market share in the Eastern Cape household stove market without external subsidies?

My claim is that the Southern Africa appropriate stove  community has already out performed the global stove community which is preoccupied or perhaps even fixated on the certification of household stove performance and depends on aid politics and colonial hegemonies  to subsidize outrageously overpriced “inappropriate” global stove technologies made half way round the planet..

in search & service,
Cecil E Cook
Techno Share Associates &
Eastern Cape Appropriate Technology
Mthatha, RSA

On Aug 30, 2017 10:34 PM, “Ronal W. Larson” <rongretlarson@comcast.net> wrote:

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