Rocket Stoves and Thermal Mass Heaters

Rocket Stoves and Thermal Mass Heaters

Postby Dave Z » Mon Jan 23, 2023 1:03 am

Low tech, highly efficient Rocket Stoves were developed by Approvecho Research Center to address the problems of open-cookfire health and deforestation issues.

Here's a basic Rocket Stove. Of note are the sharp turns to the L-shaped burn chamber, which produce turbulence for improved oxygenation. It is inusulated to raise temperature in the burn chamber for enhanced combustion:

[CAUTION: Efficiency is NOT 100%!!! For indoor use, a smoke-hood must be improvised to capture fumes and lead outdoors.}


The basic principles (underlying many variations and refinements) work as follows when extended by a thermal mass:


J-tube rocket mass heater in operation.

1. Vertically inserted wood burns sideways.
2. High temperature creates strong convective currents in the heat riser.
3. Exhaust gas exits sideways.
4. Heat exchange mass absorbs, stores, and radiates away heat.
5. Final exhaust is Carbon Dioxide and steam at low temperature (little to no elemental carbons).


The advantages for post-cataclymic survivors include:

  • Reduced fuel to useful heat ratio (requires less fuel)
  • Reduced fuel depletion (reduced deforestation)
  • Improved fuel renewability cycles (regrowth, notably through coppicing option)
  • Reduced fuel effort (cutting, splitting, transport, storage)
  • Reduced fire tending (more sustained heat with reduced fluctuation)
  • Reduced cooking/heating related time cost (freeing for other purposes)
  • Reduced pollution (smoke, soot)
  • Reduced health threats (injury exposure, fire danger, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases)

Both rocket stoves and thermal mass back ends can be DIYed from natural and/or scavenged materials.

Dave Z
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Dave Z
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