After harvesting the rice plant, the whole rice seeds are completely dried before the protective shell or ‘husk’ can be removed from the edible rice kernel inside. Resulting piles of rice-husks are a very common feature of rice processing areas. Mr. Belonio’s cooking stove is unique, because it’s the first commercially available stove specifically designed for rice-husks. See also: other uses for rice-husks including concrete.
The Belonio stove works by separating rice-husks into their chemical elements. Using the ‘top-lit updraft’ method, gas is produced, leaving behind a solid char, as the stove slowly gasifies the rice-husks. As such, the Belonio stove is actually a gas stove because it literally runs on gas; in the same way that common LPG (liquified petroleum gas or “natural gas”) stoves also use gas. See also a context of: emissions and thermal efficiency.
I’ll call the gas that’s produced by this stove ‘biogas’ (but its more specifically ‘syngas’ or ‘producer gas’). The stove’s biogas is primarily nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon monoxide. By contrast the gas commercially delivered as LPG is propane derived from processing methane. Both of these gasses (biogas and LPG) burn with a translucent smokeless flame, which is ideal for indoor cooking. See also: chemical compositions.
The Belonio stove controls its flame by adjusting the airflow at the bottom of the stove. You can do this by limiting the air physically, or by adjusting the fan’s power supply using the supplied switch. The electric fan requires only 12 Volts at 0.6 Amps (7.2Watts). This is extremely small current, similar to your mobile phone, but necessary. With a consistent and controllable airflow you’ll have a stove which is much more energy efficient than any other. See also: solar panel options.
Once you’ve filled your stove with rice-husks, the fan can be inserted (as shown above) and switched on. The stove is then lit easily by igniting a crumpled piece of paper and placing it on top of the rice-husks, inside the stove. As the rice-husks catch alight, you can fit the lid or crown over the top of the stove. The produced biogas passes through the stove’s lid where it mixes with the outside air. The biogas will now be alight, producing the classic smokeless flame of a typical gas stove. See also: instructional video made by the manufacturers.
After being gasified, the chard rice-husks are easily poured out by inverting the stove. Your stove is then ready for another batch of about 1kg of dry rice-husks. Each batch is designed to run for about 25-35 minutes – the average time required for cooking a domestic family meal. The resulting chard rice-husks themselves are almost pure solid carbon. This by-product (the chard rice-husk) is extremely good for soil’s fertility. See also: ‘biochar‘.
I acknowledge that similar gasification type stoves operate on standardized pellets composed of various biomass – including rice-husks. Raw or unprocessed rice-husks however, will endure as the most readily available, and sustainably produced, biomass for the majority of stove users in Asia. I believe in the philosophy of this technology overall, as pertinent market education in preparation for more cohesive consumer relationships with carbon cycles: contributing to consciousness climate management and better ways of living globally.
This page was authored by Daniel John Peterson. Thank you for reading & I’d love to know your thoughts!