EzyStove – Low flame, huge effect

Mankind’s ability to control fire emerged around 40,000 years ago. Our early ancestors first tamed wild fires before they discovered – probably by chance – that they could make fire by rubbing wood together or striking flint rocks to create sparks. Igniting fire soon became a decisive cultural technique. The resulting dietary shift from raw meat to cooked meat laid the foundation for the further development of humankind. Only roasting meat over a wood fire and later over charcoal allowed enough vital nutrients to be consumed to facilitate further evolution of the human brain – becoming ever more sophisticated. The use of fire thus played an essential role in the evolution of modern man.

A surprisingly high number of people – around 3 billion worldwide – today still cook over simple wood fires. Thus in Namibia, Africa, for three out of four rural households, wood is the only energy source for the daily preparation of food. However, the situation in Namibia is dire: There is less and less firewood available and people need to travel further and further to find it and carry it back home. In addition, smoke from the fireplaces causes respiratory diseases. These difficult circumstances were the starting point for developing a new type of wood-burning stove. The aim of this joint project between Swedish design agency Veryday and a Namibian study group was to create an easy-to-use yet highly effective wood-burning stove that would reduce wood consumption, make cooking easier and safer, and boost the local economy through the sales of these stoves. The price of the stove, however, had to be low to bring it within reach of the people for whom it was designed.

The result was the EzyStove. “Ezy” stands for “easy” and it delivers on this promise: Entirely made of metal, the stove is both simple and ingenious – a cylinder-shaped outer support frame, a double-walled separate compartment at the centre and a chute into which combustible material such as wood, cow dung or rubbish is inserted for fuel – that is all that’s needed. Despite its small size, EzyStove is a full-fledged hearth on a supporting frame that accommodates saucepans and frying pans of all sizes. The innovative design of the stove reduces wood consumption by up to 40 per cent and emissions of CO2 and other noxious fumes are reduced by between 60 and 80 per cent. The stove thus helps both to preserve local resources and provides a new form of protection for users through a special frame that greatly reduces the risk of burns. It can be packed flat for ease of transport and then assembled, sold and even repaired by local workshops. EzyStove thus represents a highly functional solution with the means to become a natural part of the local culture.

Source: Every Product Tells a Story (Red Dot Edition 2014)

Posted on 02.03.2017

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