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  • Writer's pictureStephen

Wood Gasifier V a Rocket Stove

Updated: Mar 16, 2018

What's the difference?

For the longest time I thought that experimenting with wood gasifiers was kind of like, going over to the dark side; not really. I was spending most of my time experimenting with rocket stoves and working out their quirks, benefits and pitfalls. Once satisfied I was fairly grounded with their basic operation, I thought I'd better, have a look at these gasifier thingies.

To be perfectly honest, there is nothing really wrong with a gasifier. They create great heat, and just like a rocket stove, run on biomass, so what's the difference?

1. Fuel consumption.

A gasifier consumes all your fuel in one hit; it means you get dinner burning heat, but you need to keep a fairly steady flow of sticks and twigs up to its hungry flames. A rocket stove combustion chamber, on the other hand, only allows you to burn a small portion of your stick in one hit, preheating the rest of the stick as you keep feeding it in. Both are equally tricky to light without practice, and both take about 3-5 minutes to get up to temperature before they start working efficiently.

2. Weight

Gasifiers are usually always much lighter and smaller, making them a great option for backpackers, and people who are carting their stoves around. The rocket stove is the preferred stove for those camping in one spot; the family camping crowd, whether that be fishing, caravaners or hunters.

3. Running Time

Both stoves are capable of cooking for extended periods, eg an hour, before beginning to clog up with ash. The advantage of a rocket stove is that with the aid of a stick you can clear the ash from the combustion chamber, allowing airflow. With a gasifier you would have to stop what you were doing, pick it up, turn it over and start again. Which can be tricky and a burn hazard.

To expand on that, gasifiers are usually made out of very thin material and get smoking hot, where rocket stoves can be thicker, and the thicker material doesn't get quite as hot, but still enough to burn oneself.

So I made a hybrid.

It's not a true rocket stove or a true gasifier. It has themes of both. In fact it's probably the most controversial stove that I've put on my YouTube Channel thus far, and has resulted in me being lectured and down right scolded by many well meaning folk. Such is the nature of YouTube.

Rocket Stove or Gasifier? You Judge - video here.

For the most part, people sort of missed the point of what I was trying to achieve. I didn't want a rocket stove or gasifier, I just wanted to borrow from both ideas, and make a light weight stove, that I could feed fuel into from the side, like a rocket stove, but have the light footprint of a gasifier. In many respects, this little stove is nothing more than a hobo stove, which I knew when I made the video, but there's nothing like stirring the proverbial pot, is there?

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