Those of us who don’t live in developing countries might not always remember that the majority of the world still uses biomass-fired cookstoves that produce smoke and other toxins. It’s a serious problem–indoor air pollution kills 1.6 million people yearly. Enter the SCORE (Stove for Cooking, Refrigeration, and Electricity), a $33 cookstove developed by researchers at the University of Nottingham that doubles as an electrical generator.
SCORE works by converting heat into acoustic energy, which is in turn converted into electricity with a linear alternator. The stove, which is ultimately expected to weigh between 10-20 kilograms, uses a single kilogram of fuel (i.e. wood or dung) each hour of use. SCORE reduces overall fuel use compared to other cookstoves by three times thanks to improved efficiency.
Researchers are currently conducting field trials in Nepal, and hope to have SCORE on the market soon after 2012. The product already has some competition, though–the $25 Envirofit clean-burning stove. Envirofit‘s stove doesn’t produce electricity, but it’s cheaper and is already on sale in India. As with Envirofit’s model, the SCORE will likely pay for itself in under a year because of fuel efficiency–not to mention the countless deaths averted by minimized smoke inhalation.
Ariel Schwartz was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a contributor at Fast Company, Inhabitat, Triple Pundit, SF Weekly, and NBC Bay Area Online. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.