Rocket stoves have gained popularity around the world for their efficiency. Many were developed to address the twin problems of people who have to cook with wood fuel in developing countries, and of ill health caused through smoke inhalation and shortages of available fuel.
The Eco Zoom Versa Rocket Stove was created to meet just such criteria and in fact there are now thousands of them in use in East Africa. It uses 60% less fuel than traditional cooking methods and due to highly efficient combustion emits 70% less smoke.
Rocket stoves are also becoming popular here with a demand largely stimulated by people wanting a back up to their domestic power.
The Eco Zoom I have been testing certainly worked in an urban environment and would be an ideal choice for emergency preparedness, but it really is far too useful to label it as just a standby item.
It consists of a metal container which is lined with ceramic insulation and has a refactory metal inner liner to the combustion chamber. Two doors are fitted which allow fuel in and to control draught. The top is a cast iron pan support. The outer body features a special weather resistant paint finish and is fitted with heat resistant handles.
When burning wood, a supplied support is attached to the fuel door opening to support the sticks.
This worked well (see above): you just need to nudge the sticks in as they burn away. When used to cook at home the stove produced a good steady heat, no visible smoke, and used little fuel (you can see it burning off as wood gas, centre).
I also used the stove at our annual street party to cook chicken pieces for 50+ people in a Netherton Foundry Casserole (see below). This time I ran it on comp-ressed charcoal and it cooked for three hours with just the occasional bit of extra charcoal dropped in.
Backyard cooks, campers, woodland owners, allotment holders, scout groups - whoever you are and what ever you do outside, I can recommend one of these great little rocket stoves.