Outdoors

ACE 1 stove cooks and charges with solar-assisted biomass heat

ACE 1 stove cooks and charges ...
The ACE 1 can use all types of biomass fuels, giving it versatility that other stoves lack
The ACE 1 can use all types of biomass fuels, giving it versatility that other stoves lack
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The ACE 1 uses fanned fire to provide smoke-free cooking
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The ACE 1 uses fanned fire to provide smoke-free cooking
The ACE 1 comes in several colors
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The ACE 1 comes in several colors
The ACE 1 comes in several colors
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The ACE 1 comes in several colors
The ACE 1 is a powerful, portable stove that's useful for all kinds of outdoor cooking
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The ACE 1 is a powerful, portable stove that's useful for all kinds of outdoor cooking
The ACE 1 can be used as a camping stove
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The ACE 1 can be used as a camping stove
The ACE 1 was designed for use in regions where smoke is a serious health problem
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The ACE 1 was designed for use in regions where smoke is a serious health problem
The ACE 1 was designed for use in regions where smoke is a serious health problem
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The ACE 1 was designed for use in regions where smoke is a serious health problem
The ACE 1 at work
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The ACE 1 at work
African Clean Energy has set up manufacturing in Lesotho and distributes its stoves in various African countries
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African Clean Energy has set up manufacturing in Lesotho and distributes its stoves in various African countries
Not only does the ACE 1 offer efficient cooking, it charges electronics with its integrated battery
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Not only does the ACE 1 offer efficient cooking, it charges electronics with its integrated battery
The ACE 1's battery can be used to power handy accessories, including an LED light
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The ACE 1's battery can be used to power handy accessories, including an LED light
The ACE 1 reaches temperatures of more than 1,800 F within a few minutes of turning its fan on
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The ACE 1 reaches temperatures of more than 1,800 F within a few minutes of turning its fan on
The ACE 1 can use all types of biomass fuels, giving it versatility that other stoves lack
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The ACE 1 can use all types of biomass fuels, giving it versatility that other stoves lack
The ACE 1 was designed as an alternative to dangerous open-fire cooking
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The ACE 1 was designed as an alternative to dangerous open-fire cooking
The ACE 1 is positioned as a safer alternative to open-fire cooking
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The ACE 1 is positioned as a safer alternative to open-fire cooking
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The ACE 1 stove from African Clean Energy combines elements of solar and biomass power to offer an eco-friendly cooking solution that also charges electronic devices. The stove is a cooking/charging solution for connected campers, developing nations and remote, off-grid dwellers.

We've seen fan-assisted biomass stoves like the VitalGrill, and we've seen gadget-charging stoves from BioLite and Point Source Power. We've also covered solar cookers like the GoSun Stove and Solar Kettle. The ACE 1 combines elements of all those devices into a unique set-up.

The ACE 1 is essentially a solar-backed, fan-assisted biomass stove. In place of the replaceable batteries required for the VitalGrill, the ACE 1 uses a rechargeable 5 Ah lithium-iron phosphate battery. It can be charged via the grid, but more useful to campers and other off-grid users is charging via the 5 W solar panel, which offers an estimated three hours of cook time per one hour of charging. When full, the battery provides up to around 20 hours of cooking.

Not only does the ACE 1 offer efficient cooking, it charges electronics with its integrated battery
Not only does the ACE 1 offer efficient cooking, it charges electronics with its integrated battery

The stove starts off with fire created by any type of biomass – sticks, corn cobs, even cow dung – and uses the fan to quite literally fan the flames, accelerating heat generation to a whopping 1,832° F (1,000° C) in about two minutes. It provides up to 5 kW of output and burns fuel efficiently and cleanly, offering smokeless cooking that requires much less fuel than other stoves, according to African Clean Energy. The company claims that it offers close to 100 percent combustion, leaving just a spoonful of ash behind. The cook controls the output via a knob.

Since it already had the battery sitting there, African Clean Energy added charging/power capabilities by way of USB and DC outlets. You can charge your phone and power compatible accessories, such as ACE's 100-lumen LED light panel.

The ACE 1's 10.1-lb (4.6-kg) weight will make it much too cumbersome for backpackers and those that prefer to travel light, but it should appeal to car campers, tailgaters, picnickers and others looking for a clean outdoor cooking alternative. The main demographic the company hopes to reach, however, is people that rely on open-fire cooking for daily living. The ACE 1's efficient, smokeless design is aimed at cutting the health risks associated with indoor solid-fuel cooking, a problem the World Health Organization estimates kills more than 4 million people per year. The ability to provide small amounts of electricity for things like mobile phones and lighting is an added plus.

The ACE 1 is positioned as a safer alternative to open-fire cooking
The ACE 1 is positioned as a safer alternative to open-fire cooking

African Clean Energy set up shop in 2011 and currently manufactures the stoves in Lesotho, a landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa. After producing 35,000 units of its original stove, it's working to finish development and begin production of the improved model described above. It's just past 20 percent of the way to its €50,000 (US$64,300) Kickstarter goal with about a month left to go. Stoves can be secured starting at a €159 pledge level, with deliveries estimated to begin in January 2015 if all goes to plan.

Source: African Clean Energy

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7 comments
Rowan Brown
just get a biolite, it too has a fan, is very light, uses any fuel, and will charge your phone. and the battery uses power generated from the heat. much more versatile
Don Duncan
The biolite powers a fan and charges a battery to charge devices using the heat from the fuel. It uses the more efficient rocket stove design and is cheaper.
When under development I suggested biolite include a flint/striker/tinder box but my advice was ignored. Also, they could have designed the fuel chamber to distribute the heat, i.e., cook, better. Heat delivery is more important than an efficient burn but every design neglects it.
Mark Thompson
This seems like a good combination of fan forced with a solar charged battery. I agree its not exactly for the weight conscientious hiker but i reckon id probably use one for off-the-grid 4wd'ing, festivals etc. I'd have to see one in action first though. I'd also like to know more about their projects in Africa- seems like a good application especially if they're already made there.
Ruben Walker
Mark: Would be glad to tell you all about the projects we are running and planning in various African (and beyond) countries. Just get in touch, my contact details are on our website. And follow us on Facebook: www.africancleanenergy.com/AfricanCleanEnergy The advantage of using solar power to charge the battery over the heat from the fire is that when supplying a product to people who have no (or irregular) electricity, you don't run the risk of creating a wood-powered phone charger. Solar is reliable, cheap, and getting even cheaper fast.
tk6831
I'm sorry I must have missed something. Why worry about being able to charge a cell phone if you can't afford to have an oven to cook with? A Rocket stove would be best for applications in Africa. Don't get them hooked on cell phones until they can eat properly. Then they can order their food from dominos.
Judith Walker
Actually, 8 out of 10 Sub-Saharan Africans already own mobile phones, but 66% of them have no access to modern electricity. Why not have a multi-functional tool for those who need improved cooking methods? As far as 'getting hooked on cellphones' I don't think its up to us to decided at what stage someone is allowed to join the tech-club, no matter how poor they are. Also it can provide light to study by, meaning we can work towards eradicating Kerosene lamps, which are toxic and cause fires. Also be aware that smoke reduction is not enough of a benefit in health terms for those cooking indoors every day on rudimentary stoves, smoke needs to be virtually eliminated to show have measured improvements on health.
kellory
Don't get them hooked on cell phones until they can eat properly. Then they can order their food from dominos"
Much too late for that, cell phones are very common in Africa, where it is hard to run enough landlines to be effective. Right now, it can be a two day walk to find somewhere to recharge one, though. Solar chargers clearly have a place in Africa, but that photo clearly shows no sunlight within the hovel they live in, so all cooking would have to be outdoors, or have long wires to connect the solar panel to the stove. Why not stop trying to do it all with one device? There must be a smoke hole to allow smoke out of the building, so put an exhaust fan there (solar powered), and charge phones there, then use an existing product (biolite) for both cooking and a backup power source. Either could be used for rechargeable lighting, though the solar fan would be the best power source for that, and could even be run hardwired.