Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Celebrating in Senegal

Stella Strother-Blood Reporting

Cooks enjoy the festive spirit while preparing food.
For the past two weeks, we have enjoyed delicious meals prepared on our 100 Liter Stoves in Touba, Senegal: peppers, onions, spices; yams, goat, tomatoes; rice and cous cous. 

Delicious food prepared by talented cooks who, thanks to the new technology, were able to cook without smoke in their eyes, flames at their feet, or pain in their backs.

Fred Colgan, Executive Director, and I, Stella Strother-Blood, Executive Assistant and Intern Coordinator, traveled to the country of Senegal in Western Africa on December 12th.  Of the one hundred, 100 Liter Stoves that we sent to GIZ and PERACOD (our in-country partners) we set out with seven for the Magal, a celebration in the city of Touba. This is the holy city of Mourdism, a branch of Sufi Islam. 

A 100 Liter Stove inspires curiosity in a group of local students. 
According to one of the cooks we worked with, Bababcar Pomane, Magal is a celebration when, “people come eat and learn Koran. They sing songs and say prayers.” During the Magal, and in the days leading up to it, we tested our stoves in kitchens belonging to religious leaders in the area. 

These leaders are responsible for feeding the million to 2.5 million guests who descend on the city each year for the Magal: crowds of people, piles of firewood, and a mass of cookstoves. Our successful tests yielded fuel savings of, on average, 80.1%! Cooks were in awe of the speed of the InStoves. 

Stella, Fred, and Pomane enjoy the Magal!
Pomane said, “The most important thing is that InStoves are great. You save wood, save money. You can cook without being dirty. You work without bending down – without a pain in your back.” 

Religious leaders and cooks alike saw the potential for our stoves to serve all of the large communal kitchens in the area – especially during celebrations when these limited facilities are overwhelmed by demand.

After this successful project, InStove is in negotiations with multiple agencies to create a public/private partnership in order to bring an InStove manufacturing to Senegal in 2014!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Haitian Senator Warmly Welcomes InStove!

Sen. De La Cruz speaks to schoolchildren in his home district.
Dennis Hartley Reporting 

I returned from Haiti on December 8th, after spending a week as a guest of our friend Senator Francisco De La Cruz, who represents the Central Plateau region. Dr. De La Cruz visited InStove last September to see for himself our advanced technologies and explore ways to bring more of them to Haiti. He is especially interested in our new water pasteurizer, recently tested in Zambia.
In Haiti, we foresee the possibility of serving those who are sick from drinking contaminated water from rivers, streams and even unsafe well-water. One stove with a pasteurizer system can produce about 4,000 liters of safe drinking water a day: sufficient to meet the needs of over a thousand people, fueled by small amounts of biomass.  We envision this as a small, sustainable, business opportunity for many Haitians, especially women.
National press record the senator's vision of autoclaves in the Hinche Hospital.
A highlight of the trip was presenting the stove at the Haitian senate to the national press, and conducting a demonstration. We also presented the autoclave system at the regional hospital in Hinche, the largest and most important health center in the senator’s district
The next steps include a feasibility study for the water pilot project, and forming the coalition necessary to run and monitor the project, all moving toward our ultimate goal of opening a factory.

I am excited to play a part in creating a healthy, sustainable future for Haitians with InStove. It’s really about the children, isn’t it?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The First Domestic Installation

Fred shows the stove's combustion chamber to villagers.
Adam Creighton reporting

For the first time, this week, we placed a stove in a humanitarian setting in the United States: Opportunity Village in Eugene, Oregon.

On December 3rd Fred Colgan, Executive Director, traveled to Eugene to train the homeless residents of the Opportunity Village (or villagers, as they call themselves), a transitional-housing community. Fred introduced them to the stove, gave a little history about its use in refugee centers and schools in the developing world, and then, fired it up to show what it can do.

Kindling is prepared.
“You’re the first Americans to use this stove,” said Fred.

 “Because of that, at first the fire marshal didn’t know what to do with it,” said Dan Bryant, Chair of Opportunity Village. However, after coming down to Cottage Grove to see the stove in action, Deputy Fire Marshall Keith Haggas deemed it safe for use in Opportunity Village’s outdoor kitchen.

The stove was donated by volunteer and InStove supporter Barbara Aldave who heard about Opportunity Village on the radio and then purchased a 60 Liter Stove for them.

During Fred’s demonstration, villagers Rhonda and Diane used the stove chimney to warm their hands by holding the chimney. All exterior parts of our stove remain safe to touch while the stove is in operation; even while the combustion chamber reaches temperatures of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt the pot, if no water is present.

“The villagers are very excited,” said Dan Bryant.

“I’m looking forward to making soup,” said Rhonda. “This is the perfect weather for it!” 

Villagers and volunteers join together for some hot tea from the stove!

Monday, November 25, 2013

We Give Thanks

Carly Demanett Reporting

As Thanksgiving gets closer, we at InStove would like to take a moment to thank all of the generous donors who have contributed to our crowdfundingcampaign on Indiegogo. To date, we have raised $3,780. From the beginning, the goal of raising $30,000 was incredibly daunting, but now we feel optimistic that, with your continued support, (and a little luck), we will be able to achieve it and bring safe water to thousands!  

We are thankful for our early campaign backers who bring us closer every day to our goal, but also thankful for the opportunity we have to help so many people in such a meaningful way. It is an incredible feeling play a part in bringing health and relief to so many—in this case, to the thousands who will benefit from the installation of these water pasteurizers. Most of all, we are thankful for our friends and family who have provided financial and emotional support throughout this campaign.

The weeks ahead promise to be exciting! We look forward to seeing where this campaign takes us. We are also excited about partnering with #Giving Tuesday to promote a national day for people to share their voices by giving to their favorite charities or non-profits. 

#Giving Tuesday (falling on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013) is an effort by a national partnership of nonprofits, business leaders, and community members to show thanks for the blessings we have by donating to others in need. To get involved in #Giving Tuesday, all you have to do is make a donation to InStove, then spread the word on Facebook or Twitter so your friends can participate too!

Share your #Giving Tuesday experiences with us! We hope you enjoy Thanksgiving with your friends and family, and consider supporting us this holiday season in our mission to bringing hot meals and safe water to the world.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Update from the Field

For this week's blogpost, we thought our field partners could tell the story best: video.
Thank you for all of your support! The campaign is going strong!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bringing Safe Water to Thousands in Zambia!

Stella Strother-Blood Reporting

Problem: In Zambia, two out of three people lack access to safe water.

Solution: Our super-efficient water pasteurizer can provide safe water for over 1,000 people for just two cents per person, per day. 

We are field-testing our pasteurizer prototype in Ndola, Zambia right now, and people love the pasteurizer - they can't wait for the permanent installation of the next two! With your help, we can reach $30,000 which will install two pasteurizers in the village by early 2014. But, we need your help to do it!

"The system is so good and very quick," said Ester Banda, Ndola local and Water Quality Testing Lab Manager, "it has been an eye-opener and we hope it will be promoted in our community."

Ester Banda talks about the water pasteurizer's future in her community.
This pasteurizer works with our 100 Liter Stove; it is 100% effective at eliminating all waterborne pathogens including hepatitis A., E. coli, shigella, entamoeba, retroviruses, polioviruses, giardia, cryptosporidium and the bacteria that causes typhoid and cholera. InStove can make large quantities of water (over 3,000 liters per day) safe to drink for people without access to electrical grids or expensive fossil fuels.

"I believed in this project in the lab; I knew we had something special," said Research and Development Engineer Nick Moses, "but the enthusiastic feedback we've received from the field was the final piece - I know this can be successful."

What will our success mean? It will mean this village will have enough safe water to meet the needs of 3,000 people. It will also mean the first production run of pasteurizers, and the ability for us to quickly produce and distribute this system wherever there is need, in places like Haiti, Darfur, and Ethiopia.

Nick Moses discusses his experiences in the lab and in the field.
What can you do to help? Donate at Indiegogo. View our video. Print a flyer (and ask if you can hang it in your favorite coffee shop). Share the news with your friends! Tell them how you've partnered with us to serve the people of Zambia - and how they can help too. If you know a blogger or journalist who would be interested, please, tell them about us!

Join our effort to bring safe water to the world, starting with Zambia! Together, we can make clean water a reality: http://bit.ly/HQgTZE

Institutional Stove Solutions - InStove - is a 501(c)(3) non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 2012. We are dedicated to relieving suffering, improving health, and reducing harm to the environment through the design and delivery of highly efficient biomass cookstoves, and allied technologies to the most vulnerable populations worldwide. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thankful for my Worries

Carly Demanett reporting

As I got ready for the day this morning, I went through my customary mental to-do list: “Get up…go running…drive to work…go to the post office…buy groceries…make dinner...” My mind was filled with thoughts like, “Should I try a new dinner recipe from one of those magazines I just bought, or go with an old-standby?” Then I got to work.

When I walked into InStove’s office for my internship and began research for a project, suddenly, my worries about dinner seemed very small. I read about women in Ugandan refugee camps living in tents because they fled violence in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many of these women’s husbands stayed behind, leaving these women as the sole providers for their families. Even in camps, these women are not guaranteed safety. During the day, they must venture out to search for firewood, either bringing their children with them, or leaving them alone. Depending on the environment surrounding the camp, this can be a time-consuming process, and an extremely hazardous one. Whenever they go out, they risk being attacked, kidnapped, or even killed.

For these women, making dinner is not the pleasant, comfortable experience that it is for me. While I am worrying about recipes and the price of ground beef, these women are living in fear for their safety and that of their children. 

At this point, my worries seemed small and petty, and I was thankful that my internship provides me with reality checks like this one. I have the privilege of being able to drive to a grocery store and pick up whatever I need to make dinner for my family. Then, I can drive back to my safe, comfortable house and cook for them on a stove that doesn’t require me to make a dangerous trek through conflict zones and deforested areas in search of fuel.

I left work today with a new perspective, feeling very thankful for my few “worries.”

InStove is currently working to place our cookstoves in refugee camps throughout Africa. These stoves use up to 90% less wood, allowing women and children to spend less time searching for fuel and more time pursuing other educational and economic opportunities. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Water Pasteurizer is in Zambia!

Nick Moses reporting

The water pasteurizing system set up 
at SOHIP's site in Zambia.
After four plane rides, 37 hours in transit, and more airport meals than I'd like to count, Damon Ogle, Co-founder of InStove and Director of Technology, and I arrived in Ndola, Zambia last Tuesday with all of our water pasteurizing and testing equipment delivered miraculously intact.

Our hosts, Seeds of Hope International Partnerships (SOHIP), have helped us set up our water pasteurizer at their Resource Center in Ndola. This facility serves as a base for sanitation and hygiene training, as well as water filtration and testing technologies, providing us with an ideal group of water-purification experts to aid us in finalizing field testing before the water pasteurizer goes into full production.

Lab staff and interns analyze water samples.
Thanks to constant support from Tauzen, SOHIP's hygiene training manager, and one very dirty local river, we have been able to successful run a series of three E.coli tests in SOHIP's sophisticated water quality testing lab. The river water contained over 100,000 E.coli coliforms per liter (the World Health Organization upper limit for safe drinking water is 100 per liter). Despite this extreme level of contamination, SOHIP's preliminary testing showed effective removal of E.coli and all other bacteria!

With these encouraging results, the next step will be to bring the pasteurizer to a point-of-use testing location where people have no safe source of drinking water. We will visit a rural clinic and maternity ward tomorrow – with a contaminated borehole as their only source of water – to discuss installing the water pasteurizer to bring patients,mothers, and newborn children safe water!

The vials on the left contain river water,
those on the right are pasteurized river water. No E.coli!
With SOHIP's help, we hope to place the system at a site like this for ongoing use and monitoring over the coming months to help prove its value and determine its best application. All of this thorough testing and research will help us make improvements that lead to an even more user-friendly and durable final design that we can deliver around the world to those in need.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

InStove Goes to Washington D.C.

Carly Demanett reporting
Ben Jacobs and Fred Colgan at STAR-TIDES in Washington D.C.

Last week our Executive Director Fred Colgan and board members Ben Jacobs and Lise Colgan traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 7th Annual STAR-TIDES Technology Field Demonstration. The weeklong event was located at the National Defense University campus where staff members connected with representatives of public and private-sector organizations that share the common goal of supplying technology for catastrophe relief.

The InStove team conducted demonstrations of our technologies and forged many new relationships with organizations including the Red Cross, FEMA, and the Department of Defense. The DOD said our stoves could provide a unique way for them to enhance peace-keeping and foreign aid operations around the world.

While in Washington, Fred met with Senator Jeff Merkley to discuss how the Oregon Manufacturing Initiative could help us accomplish our goals of relieveing suffering, improving health, and reducing harm to the environment through our cookstoves. Senator Merkley pledged his support and the support of his staff, to assist InStove in the future. He also said he would like to tour our Cottage Grove manufacturing facility in the near future.

We believe many of the conversations during this past week will evolve into strategic partnerships that will allow us to reach more places with our stoves.

Fred Colgan and Senator Jeff Merkley.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Into the Fold

Carly at a race fundraiser.
 This week, with the start of classes around Lane County, Oregon, InStove welcomes a new class of interns into the InStove fold.

Meet Carly, a University of Oregon student studying general social sciences. She will be working with Stella Strother-Blood as our social media intern. In the past, Carly has worked with the March of Dimes and volunteered with YMCA as a youth soccer coach. Carly brings a vibrant personality and interest in our mission. She will be writing blog and social media posts, and helping us monitor our social media presence.

Meet Jack Hoffman, an environmental studies major from Lane Community College. Jack will be working directly with Adam Creighton as the development intern. Her project will be investigating  writing, and submitting a grant application to support our programs.

Jack enjoying time on the Oregon coast.
"I see what InStove is bring to light - a holistic perspective on rights, health, community and quality of life, "said Jack, "I will do my best to convey these [...] through my grant writing."

Over the past year, a dozen students from five different Oregon schools have contributed over 1,600 volunteer hours to InStove. These interns have dedicated time, knowledge, and passion by representing us at events, writing grants, filming videos, and performing meaningful support work. In return, InStove provides them with a pre-professional experience working for a complex organization with a mission and a conscience.

Welcome Carly and Jack, and thank you to all our intern alumni!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

One Hundred, 100 Liter Stoves in Senegal

Stella Strother-Blood reporting 
100 stoves loaded up for Senegal.

InStove is deepening our program in Senegal: this time with one hundred, 100 Liter Stoves that left our loading dock this morning and will arrive in time for the Magal Touba holiday this December.

In January 2013, Executive Director Fred Colgan traveled to Senegal for a consultation with the German Foreign Development Organization, GIZ. At the Gamou celebration, tens of thousands of Senegalese take to the streets and feast on local cuisine. Last January, six of our stoves fed hundreds of people at the event.

“People were walking in the streets through the smoke of hundreds of cookstoves,” said Fred. “In between these massive piles of firewood, you could see our stoves cooking smoke-free!”

Like the Gamou celebration, feeding the hundreds of thousands who attend the Magal Touba event creates logistical challenges. InStove is excited to collaborate again with GIZ to help event organizers overcome these challenges by increasing their capacity to sustainably and affordably meet the needs of the Senegalese people, while reducing the environmental costs of doing so.

A passerby examined our stoves at Gamou last year
“Cooking time was dramatically reduced on InStove’s stoves,” Fred said in his last report. “Food that normally requires four hours was ready in two. Cooks remarked that in the future, they would have to do more forward planning and preparation to keep ahead of the fast cooking times on InStove’s stoves!”

After the ten day Touba event, the stoves will remain in Senegal, providing an ongoing institutional-scale cooking solutions. InStove is now in discussions with government groups, aid agencies, and religious organizations to establish a factory partnership in Senegal in the near future.

“Obviously, economical, clean, fast, and safe cooking is appreciated by cooks and administrators alike,” concluded Fred. 

A big "thank you" to our factory crew for loading every container with care!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Serving Thousands in Dadaab

Stella Strother-Blood reporting

"Homes" are made of found material and tarps
Dadaab, Kenya: it’s the largest refugee camp in the world, and most people don’t know it exists. Dadaab is composed of multiple distinct camps, most constructed in the early 1990s for a population less than 100,000. Together, they now hold approximately 500,000 refugees – and the count increases each day. It’s a settlement over 50 miles wide, packed by countless flimsy shelters made of tarps, scraps and whatever material families could find. 

Dadaab hosts a population of families from various countries and conflicts; most are Somalis escaping drought, famine, and civil war. The settlement is plagued by overcrowding, lack of infrastructure, and not enough supplies. To newcomers, this is not the salvation they had hoped for. For some young people who have lived in Dadaab for decades: this is the only life they have ever known.

Arial view of part of the camp
Deforestation around Dadaab is a major concern. The land is treeless, devastated by over-harvesting of firewood, and frequent floods made worse by a lack of vegetation. Such floods destroy roads, and add a heavy burden to the lives of those in Dadaab.

“InStove sees the problem and we want to help,” said Executive Assistant Stella Strother-Blood, “When I was in Kenya, I saw the toll droughts and floods have on communities. There is no firewood! We have a solution that can make a life-changing impact for thousands of people.”

On Monday, September 16th, InStove shipped 45 stoves to UNHCR for use in Dadaab. Executive Director Fred Colgan will be consulting in Dadaab in the coming months, working with cooks and UNHCR representatives to establish a viable and sustainable method to feed thousands of people.

“This delivery to Dadaab is a goal we’ve had since our inception,” said Colgan, “This is why InStove exists. Refugees in Dadaab are exactly the people we wish to serve and help.”

Forty-five stoves were packed up and left for Dadaab on Monday!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Senator De La Cruz Visits the Headquarters

Adam Creighton and Stella Strother-Blood reporting

The InStove Headquarters has always been a hub for international visitors of all kinds - scientists, benefactors, and now, politicians. Senator Francisco De La Cruz, a physician from Lospalis, Central Plateau, Haiti is in Cottage Grove, Oregon this week visiting our team of staff, consultants, and volunteers. They are discussing collaboration between Haiti and InStove and exploring the possibility of starting a water-pasteurization pilot project in 2014.

Senator De La Cruz is an outspoken opponent of ineffective nongovernmental organizations and corruption in Haiti. He founded an NGO, Organization for Coordination of Sanitary Action and Development in Haiti, which works to improve health through access to agriculture and health education. It also offers classes that empower women and men to start micro-businesses with micro-loans.

Today, the Senator met with Fred Colgan, InStove's executive director, to talk about plans to bring a water pasteurizer and several stoves and autoclaves to his district for demonstrations this year. This could be the seed, or as he puts it, "the grain of sand" that leads to an increased presence and eventually to a factory in Haiti.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Internship with InStove

Kevin Rhodes reporting
Kevin at his college's football game.
I came into contact with InStove through the University of Oregon. I was taking an international marketing class and Stella and Nick came in to give a presentation about marketing a non-profit business and provided an introduction to this great company. I was immediately impressed with the presentation and the many ways InStove counteracts pollution and hunger and aids those in desperate need. At the end of their presentation, Stella and Nick mentioned their involvement with the university and their internship program, and I emailed Stella that afternoon to find out more.

The entire team here is very welcoming, genuine and passionate about what they are doing. Everyone is constantly trying to improve InStove and people’s lives around the world. On a normal day I drive to the Cottage Grove office where I am greeted by many busy, smiling people and of course Bridey, the affectionate dog, always looking for a little attention. I mainly work with Adam Creighton, the development coordinator. Adam has taught me countless lessons, mainly focused on grant research, databases, grant writing, excel capabilities, and various computer programs.
Much of Kevin's grant research has been for our water pasteurizer.

I am coming up on my senior year at the University of Oregon, closing in on an International Business major and both a computer informational technologies and communication minor. Adam listened to my interests of international business and marketing (with an emphasis on technology) and specifically created my internship experience to what I wanted to do. This I believe is very rare for internships, rather than fetching coffee for the employees, I’m doing hands-on research and personally contributing to InStove’s mission and international involvement. With the many new experiences I’ve had and lessons I have learned this summer, I am going back to school with a fresh idea of what marketing and passionate people

can achieve and how much of an impact one non-profit can have. I am beyond grateful for the time I have had at InStove and the great, humbling work this company is doing for at risk people throughout the developing world.

If you are interested in an internship with InStove, please contact the Intern Coordinator

Monday, August 19, 2013

Getting Down to Business!

Stella Strother-Blood reporting

As the demand for InStove’s technologies continues to expand around the world, our ability to provide warranted jobs to skilled and passionate individuals increases. We are overjoyed to introduce two new members of our staff: Carol and Kevin.

Carol Ortega Algarra is our new business consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and two Master’s degrees: one in Business Administration and the other in Management Accounting. Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Carol has a deep background in management strategy, human resources, international accounting standards and US GAAP. In her spare time she enjoys playing bass guitar, roller-skating, and beagles. With her help, we are implementing new financial and management strategies.

Kevin Swanson is joining InStove as our new bookkeeper and member of the finance team. His background includes vast experience in accounting, US GAAP for both for-profit and non-profit organizations, especially in the manufacturing sector. With his 11 years of experience and his passion for sustainability, he makes an excellent addition and we are happy to have him on board! When not in the office, Kevin can be found playing board games, cards, sports of almost any kind, or reading. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

InStove in Nigeria

Stella Strother-Blood reporting

On June 28, InStove team members Cory Dawson, JD Laurich, and Fred Colgan left Oregon for Nigeria to set up our first factory and train Nigerian workers.

“It was pretty cool to unpack the container. I don’t think everybody knew what to expect. There were tools in there that they had never even seen,” said Cory. “It became training to not only build a stove, but how to use the tools. That alone was a learning process."

By the end of July, the factory had completed production of over 120 stoves with eleven trainees, some of whom had been on the job only a week and a half. The workers are producing about ten finished stoves per day, matching the production rate of our factory in Oregon.

“It was not until the very last day that we knew this was absolutely going to work,” said Cory. “The last day, we walked away three hours early [so they could complete projects on their own] and we didn’t know if they knew the production method well enough: it’s a lot to take in.”

When Cory and JD returned to the factory, all fifteen stoves were completed and ready for use.

“At that point, we knew it was their shop now,” said Cory.

Our local production partner is the International Center for Energy, Environment, and Development (ICEED). The project is partly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and is the culmination of three years' work in Nigeria. ICEED has preorders from the Nigerian school system, where it will place the stoves in school meal programs in every state in the country. ICEED expects the demand for stoves in the educational sector alone to exceed 10,000 units: over 20 times the amount produced by this initial production run.

“Seeing A-Factory-In-A-Box come to fruition was amazing,” said Cory. “Seeing two cultures work together, learn from each other, and accomplish this great idea until it became a reality was eye-opening for both sides.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stove Camp: A New Perspective

Zac Rego reporting

Nick and Stella share their experience
with the InStove briquette press.

Immediately upon my arrival, I was thrown into the “fire” as I started a brief lecture on biomass briquette theory and history with the help of staff members Nick and Stella. The “students” were professionals with experience and knowledge far beyond my own, yet they listened attentively as I discussed the merits of mashing hay and shredded paper together into a burnable alternative to wood. After the discussion, I lit a few of these hay and paper briquettes in the 60 Liter Stove to demonstrate the reliability and quality of the stick briquette.
Before I started interning with InStove this summer, I didn’t even know there was a stove community. Yet, here they were, a diverse collection of enthusiasts and professionals gathered at the Institutional Stove Solutions Headquarters to learn about, test, and discuss all things stove.

Zac begins the briquette presentation.

As the briquette demonstrations began to wind down, I got a chance to talk with a few camp attendees about their experience so far at Stove Camp. One camper, Ron Larson, was sitting with some briquette material, but he wasn’t forming briquettes; he was making spheres. “I’ve always wanted to test my theory, but never had a good opportunity to do so. Now I have the opportunity.” Ron was discussing another stove design called the TLUD (Top-Lit Up-Draft). This is a stove loaded with fuel, lit from the top, and then allowed to burn with no need to manually maintain the fire. He was telling me that using spherical fuel rather than wood chips could create a better airflow within the stove, and now he has the opportunity to test his theory. In the laboratory, the TLUD stove was one of several designs I was able to see being tested.
Stove camp attendees use the briquette press.

The lab was buzzing with energy and excitement from builders and testers alike. There were some groups of people shaping chimneys and others running their stoves in test chambers. These chambers measured time to boil water, temperature, and different classes of emissions, including particulate matter. Inside the lab, I was able to see that these were people truly dedicated to constructing simple, quality, and efficient stoves.

I consider myself privileged to be able to intern at InStove, and even more so to share the day with people of such determination.

To hear what Zac, Nick, and Stella said during the presentation, please go to our Youtube channel

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Guests enjoyed music, food, and great company!

Stella Strother-Blood Reporting

This past Saturday was exceptional at our “Spark-A-Change” community celebration! With incredible support from our host, Hideaway Bakery in Eugene, OR, this free event included food, drinks, live music, demonstrations and a raffle of prizes donated by our community business sponsors.

"This event was a chance to reach out to our community and spread the word about who we are while generating support for the work that we do locally and around the world," said Development Coordinator Adam Creighton.

Hideaway Bakery served free pizza, salad, refreshments and baked goods while guests also had the opportunity to munch down on “bodacious” corn from Thistledown farms, donated by volunteer Sherry Daggett. The corn was prepared in our 60 and 100 Liter Stoves, which were on demonstration throughout the event, showcasing how much food can be prepared using a minimum amount of firewood. King Estate Winery generously provided Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, and Hop Valley Brewing Co. contributed a keg of Alphadelic IPA. Local musician Bill Slattery provided guitar accompaniment, reprising the wonderful performance he gave at our Open House in December.

The highlight for many attendees was the stove auction: guests had the opportunity to sponsor individual stove components (including the combustion chamber, pot, and paint), which, when put together, constituted a whole stove. This auction resulted in complete sponsorship of two complete stoves, which will be bound for Uganda in a shipping container later this summer.

Intern alum, Emily, volunteered at the raffle table
Spark-A-Change would not have been possible without the support of our volunteers, interns, and community. We thank them all for a great inaugural event.

“Knowing all the work and anticipation that went into this event: the teamwork was great,” said volunteer Sherry Daggett. “People stepped right up to the plate to help!”

If you are in the Lane County area, please thank our sponsors for their support. Our 2013 “Spark-a-change” sponsors were: Dot’s Trophy Shop, Big Stuff Barbecue, Kalapuya Books, Hop Valley Brewing Company, King Estate Winery, Coast Fork Feed, Hideaway Bakery, Rally Coffee, Cascade Home Center, Oldfield’s and the Backstage Bakery. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Summer Interns have Arrived

Stella Strother-Blood Reporting

A new team of interns has joined the InStove staff for the summer. These four students will work in teams of two on both fundraising and sustainable fuel research.

Evan hangs out by the entrance of InStove.
Kevin during a visit in London, England.
Evan Nelson and Kevin Rhodes will be working with Development Coordinator Adam Creighton. Their work will include grant research, drafting proposals, writing letters of inquiry, and helping InStove to develop and hone its message. Evan is a recent University of Oregon graduate with a double major in International Studies and Spanish. He has spent extensive time in Latin America including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. Evan enjoys cooking, scuba diving, and learning new languages.

“The reason I like InStove is because it helps on so many fronts. It impacts not only health, but also the environment and women’s rights,” said Evan.

Kevin is a dedicated swimmer and tutor. Like Evan, he also studied abroad in Spain. Kevin is currently pursuing a degree in International Business.

Ryan chills in his natural habitat.
Zac Rego and Ryan Walsh are working under executive assistant to formulate ratios of biomass (e.g., grass clippings, sawdust, leaves, paper) for use in our briquette-press. The team will research how decomposition and other factors affect the fuel-value of these briquettes when burned in our stoves.

Ryan is a recent UO graduate with a bachelor’s in environmental studies. His passions include woodwork, travel, and reading. Zac is a UO junior studying geology. He was inspired to pursue this major after taking a class called “Earth Resources and the Environment”  where he discovered that geology combines his passions for science and environmental awareness.

Zac makes some briquettes for a test!
“We’re testing ideas and everyone’s input is considered valuable,” said Zac. “The internship program is casual and flexible. I don’t feel like I am punching a clock; everyone is motivated, and we all want to see InStove grow to become more internationally relevant.”

You can view a short video of Zac making briquettes on our Facebook page!