How Do Rocket Stoves Work?

Inspired by a question on Twitter, we thought we'd share a little bit of information on rocket stoves in general and our Horizon Stove in particular.

The Horizon Stove - how does a rocket stove work?

Rocket stoves are small, compact fuel burners designed to maximise fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Great for developing countries where wood for fuel is scarce, they run on just a handful of twigs and the high heat can boil water much more quickly than an open fire.

They feature a compact vertical fuel chamber into which wood is fed: air is sucked from underneath a grate and up over the fuel and through the flue. Our Horizon features air vents at the top of the chamber, through which more air is sucked into the combustion, giving an even better combustion of the fuel.

There are lots of great rocket stoves available (we strongly recommend our Horizon Stove...) but you can even build your own! It's easy to do, and you can pick and choose the size of your stove based on the materials you use. We've had success with tomato/baked bean can combinations, and even made one using packed earth. Look online for tutorials and videos if you'd like to give it a go!

The Horizon is a high efficiency wood burning stove that burns smokeless! Having to move seats to avoid smoke every time the wind changes will be a thing of the past with your Horizon stove. Obviously there are health benefits to this too; according to WHO, respiratory disease is the leading cause of death in low income countries. It kills more people than Malaria or HIV/AIDS. A major contribution factor to this is cooking on solid fuel and breathing in the fumes. Smokeless cooking is the way forward to eradicate this problem, and that is why the Horizon was designed. You can see how efficiently it burns by how little wood you use. You can cook a meal on literally a small handful of kindling. It takes just 15 minutes to boil 5 litres of water with only 250g of wood.

The stove itself is extremely light at 1.8kg. This means you can really take it anywhere with you and there is even enough room in the bag for some wood and a pan. Another amazing thing about the Horizon is that the outer cage on the stove stays cool while the stove is lit, meaning you can pick up your stove and carry it whenever you want. You don’t have to wait a long time after cooking for the stove to cool to pack it away. 

Our Horizon is made from a high quality stainless steel, it's built to last and will be keeping you fed for years to come. We love the colour effect the heat leaves on the stainless steel: it reminds us of oil on water. They're also nigh-on unbreakable! Ours have survived rolling around in the back of a van, being used as a makeshift picnic stool (not recommended but shouldn't do your stove any harm) and generally taking a beating from years of beach, forest and wilderness-based adventures.

Now for the science! Its thermal efficiency is 45% for the large pot high power, performed by the SeTAR Thermal efficiency Test. The emissions are the best in its class. It has a combustion efficiency of 96.7% and it burns off most of the harmful gases before they are released. It's also good for the environment. The black carbon particle (resulting from incomplete combustion) is commonly found in smoke and soot and is directly related to climate change.

The Horizon Stove's design results in complete combustion, therefore significantly reducing black carbon particles released into the air and as a result reduced the impact on the environment and climate change.