Commercially viable gasifiers have long been understood and used in large industry and even in transportation (over one million vehicles during WWII), but not for small applications such as a household stove.
In 1985 on a trip to South Africa, gasification expert Dr. Thomas B. Reed awoke one night thinking of a very small gasifier for the domestic stove needs of impoverished people. For ten years he worked to develop what is now called the TLUD (Top-Lit UpDraft) natural draft gasifier stove. Indeed, he is the recognized originator of what is now called Top-Lit UpDraft gasification.
In 1995 Dr. Ronal Larson joined the effort with a focus on the gasifier’s capacity for producing charcoal as a valuable by-product in a household stove. After testing and publications, but no real success for applications, they stopped that work in 1996. However, in 1998 Dr. Reed began work on a smaller, forced convection model with a fan with the intention to make a stove for the affluent North American camper market. He has successfully produced the “WoodGas CampStove” for marketing in 2003 and can produce impressive heat for sustained periods. Some modifications are necessary for applications in developing countries.
Independently and virtually unknown until 2008, Norwegian Paal Wendelbo successfully developed the “Peko Pe” natural draft TLUD cookstove in Uganda in the 1990s.
Whereas Reed and Wendelbo are independent co-originators, others who have done significant work with TLUDs up through the present may be considered “Pyroneers.”
In 2001, Dr. Reed lit his early prototype forced-air gasifier stove on a kitchen table for Dr. Paul S. Anderson and two others to see. Sufficiently impressed, Dr. Anderson started experimenting, studied Reed’s original TLUD gasifier, learned much from the “Stoves Listserv,” and subsequently devised numerous modifications that resulted in the “Champion” TLUD model in 2005. There are important similarities between Anderson’s Champion and Wendelbo’s Peko Pe that result in successful natural draft Top-Lit UpDraft stoves (TLUD-ND).