Borderless engineering spawns solar rocket stove

Borderless engineering spawns solar rocket stove

A team of Massey University engineering students will represent New Zealand at the Engineers Without Borders Australian Challenge finals in Melbourne next week after winning the national chapter.

The challenge is a trans-Tasman design competition for first-year university students. Developed and co-ordinated by Engineers Without Borders Australia, it has been part of the engineering curriculum in New Zealand universities since 2007.

This year’s challenge was in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Vietnam. Students had to develop innovative solutions for sustainable development of the Anh Minh district on the Mekong Delta.

daniel burgess mike horrell massey university engineers without borders

Daniel Burgess, Mike Horrell (both pictured), Jaafar Alnasser and John Sibal, from the school of engineering and advanced technology in Albany, created the ‘Anytime’ Cooking Solution. It uses two separate stoves made from locally-sourced components so people can cook using solar power for the sunny part of the year, and then switch to a fuel-efficient rocket stove that burns twigs and sticks for use during the rainy season.

“We set ourselves sustainable project outcomes that we wanted to achieve, including reducing the use of wood by half, and reducing smoke inhalation while cooking. It had to be affordable, mobile, and robust, and we wanted to help foster a change away from fossil fuel dependence," Horrell says.

The winning team looked at the different cooking methods currently in use in Vietnam to see if they could be improved upon. Inhabitants of Anh Minh use either electricity, LPG, charcoal, or open fire stoves to cook their food, which can be messy and potentially dangerous.

anytime cooking stove rocket stove engineers without borders 2012

The Anytime Cooking Solution: A solar-powered stove and the Rocket stove for use in Vietnam.