Two years ago experts began work on a revolutionary new stove that could help reduce poverty in third world countries. The £2m SCORE project (Stove for Cooking, Refrigeration and Electricity) was designed to offer cooking, refrigeration and energy production from a wood-powered generator and subsequent developments have now brought the project to a point where it can be mass-produced.

With two billion people worldwide using open fires to cook and around 93% of the energy produced going to waste, a suitable way to harness this power and transform it into usable energy would seem to have obvious benefits. Now able to utilize other material including dung and other locally available biomass, the unit would be capable of converting heat into acoustic energy and then electricity, for around one hour’s use per kilogram of fuel.

The cost target for the generator is £20 per household, and with SCORE currently being tested in the UK and Nepal the team is now looking for sponsorship in order to take the product to the locations for which it is intended.

Project director Paul H. Riley is optimistic about the future: “We have had tremendous interest in the SCORE project from around the world and the SCORE community —launched a few months ago — is working extremely well. This includes entrepreneurs and volunteers that adapt the stove for local use among its members.”

Partners in the project include the University of Manchester, City University in London and the charity Practical Action, who have been involved to varying degrees during the research, manufacture and distribution stage.

The unit’s versatility is illustrated by community member Rynier Ferreira, based in South Africa, who looks to modify the original design for better use in specific communities.

“We are adapting a SCORE Stove to work with paraffin (kerosene) as many rural communities in South Africa are still highly dependant on it as a major fuel source for cooking. Adapting a SCORE Stove for paraffin will increase not only the safety aspect for stoves using this type of fuel, but will give the people in these rural communities the additional advantage of electricity and refrigeration.”

If all goes to plan, field test trials are expected to begin next year and full production is slated for 2012.

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