Kolkata: A lamp which produces high quality light and doubles up as a device to cook food without causing pollution has been invented by a team of engineers in Maharashtra.
Suitable particularly for rural households which lack clean cooking fuel and electricity, the device, aptly named Lanstove (lantern combined with cook stove), has been developed by researchers from Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in Maharashtra`s Phaltan.
IIT graduate Anil Rajvanshi, who led the team. Says the clean-combustion kerosene lanstove provides excellent light equivalent to that from a 200-300 W electric bulb and cooks a complete meal for a family of five just like an LPG stove.
"To our knowledge this is the first such device where both lighting and cooking are combined together resulting in tremendous energy efficiency and saving of fuel," he says in a research report published by the institute.
The Lanstove consists of a nine litre pressurised kerosene cylinder, a high light output mantle lantern and a very efficient steam cooker which is based on heat pipe principle.
The device has been designed so that kerosene is pressurised and stored in a small separate cylinder from where it flows into the combustor and burns very cleanly just like in the LPG cookstove.
"We developed this technology with our own funds and the trials were funded by Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi," Rajvanshi told PTI.
Millions of people in rural India cook and heat their homes using open fires and leaky stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.
Nearly 2 million people die prematurely from illness like those caused by chronic obstructive respiratory disease attributable to indoor air pollution from household solid fuel use, World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates.
Research by NARI shows that carbon monoxide levels from these new lanstoves are less than 3 parts per million (ppm), whereas those from regular `chulhas` are between 250-400 ppm or 80 to 130 times more than from the lanstove.
"Thus lanstove is an extremely clean device and equivalent to LPG stove," say NARI engineers.
Lanstove has been tested for the last eight months in 25 rural huts in western Maharashtra which do not have electricity.
After the successful trials, the technology is now available for commercialisation and the institute is now looking for suitable entrepreneurs who can market it in the rural areas.
"It has shown excellent results with users commenting that it does not produce smoke like their existing biomass powered chulha and gives excellent light compared to the presently used hurricane lanterns and tin wick lamps," Rajvanshi says.
However, engineers regret that Lanstoves cannot be made available on a large-scale in rural areas because of government regulations on the supply of kerosene.
"Today below poverty line (BPL) families get only five litres of kerosene per household every month while Lanstove users need at least 15-20 litres of kerosene per month," he points out demanding that kerosene should be allowed to be sold in open market freely.