Students’ partner with Convoy of Hope in rocket stove competition

Students from Missouri State and Evangel University took to the Evangel courtyard Wednesday, March 21, to take part in a rocket stove competition, in partnership with Convoy of Hope.

The Applied Sustainability class, taught by Evangel Professor and Convoy of Hope Senior Director of Program Effectiveness and Training Jason Streubel, is a course designed to engage students in analyzing and solving the world’s humanitarian needs.

A rocket stove is a fuel and heat efficient stove, that uses combustion and ventilation to produce heat while conserving fuel. Usually found in developing countries, the cost efficient stove produces almost no smoke and is a staple in areas with a low supply of fuel sources.

We have a winner

Students were required to build their rocket stove out of household or repurposed items. The goal was to get the stove to boil a pot of water for 10 minutes at 100 degrees Celsius — the time and temperature required to sanitize contaminated water.

Scott McElveen, a graduate student in Missouri States Agricultural Science program, completed the ten minute boil. His rocket stove, a combination of coffee cans and aluminum foil, held 100 degrees for 14 minutes.

“If you were in a foreign country, you could drink that water,” McElveen said smiling.

How Convoy uses rocket stove technology

Convoy of Hope works in developing countries around the world through Children’s Feeding, Women’s Empowerment and Agriculture initiatives. To improve the lives of people we serve, we are beginning to implement clean stove technology.

“How do you burn a stove while being fuel efficient and heat efficient?” Streubel said. “That’s what we are trying to find out.”

Right now, a manufactured rocket stove would cost someone in Kenya about two days wages. In countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua, rocket stove materials are limited to natural resources like stone, brick, clay and cob.

One Missouri State student, Cady Goble, used cob to build her rocket stove. Her cob mixture — a combination of clay, sand and prairie grass — is a variation of what most people use to build rocket stoves in our program countries. Like many of the people we serve, Goble understands the benefits to using natural resources.

“Anyone can make it using the resources around them,” Goble said. “It’s also scalable, it could be used for someone’s home.”

Along with creativity, cost, and heat efficiency, scalability is one of the benefits Streubel analyzed.

“We want to produce this in a way that is not just good for individuals, but in a way that could provide for whole families—or even schools,” Streubel said.

Streubel is analyzing the successes and failures of the classes’ models and using them to further his team’s knowledge of rocket stoves and how to manufacture them on a larger scale. With this additional information, Convoy of Hope can continue to implement clean stove technology in the lives of the people we serve — offering cleaner, fuel efficient methods of cooking and hope for a better tomorrow.

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