Researchers have visited a remote village in Nepal to explore how a revolutionary new stove could change the lives of those living without electricity.
The £2m SCORE - Stove for Cooking, Refrigeration and Electricity - project brings together researchers from across the world to develop a wood-powered generator capable of both cooking and cooling food.
Led by the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Nottingham, the project team will use thermoacoustic technology for the first time to convert biomass fuels into energy, powering the stove, fridge and generator.
Project director Paul Riley visited Nepalese capital Kathmandu; Yanglakot, a village seven hours drive north east of Kathmandu; and Chitwan, a village eight hours drive south west of the capital. His aim was to gather information on cooking, refrigeration and electricity generation in the kind of environments that the SCORE stove is targeted at.
By speaking to both male and female members of the families interviewed, Mr Riley assessed how electricity was used on a daily basis — from cooking and heating to lighting and entertainment. Many of those interviewed had no access to mains electricity and currently use kerosene and wood-burning stoves for cooking, heating and lighting. Richer families may also have batteries or a generator to power televisions, phones or radios.
“By speaking to the people who will be selling, buying and using the SCORE stove, we collected valuable information about how the SCORE stove will be used,” Dr Riley said. “Elements such as local resources that could power the stove, from wood to elephant dung, and what the stove would need to cost to make it affordable to the average household are all key to the further development of the project.
“The development of the SCORE technology, making it reliable and cost-effective, is progressing well. But we must also research the social environments that the stove will work in — from African desert settlements to high-altitude villages in Nepal.
“Living in the rural community was personally a very moving and humbling experience and of immense use to the Score project as we learned so much about the product requirements.”
The University of Manchester, Queen Mary, University of London and City University London are partners in the project, from researching engine design to the manufacture and distributions of the stove in the developing world.
Mr Riley added: “We achieved a small electrical output from our early demonstrator in early February — this was due to the absolutely incredible cooperation between the partners and is a major project milestone achieved ahead of our original plan.”
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for three years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.