Muhammad Nurhuda, Biomass Stove UB.03-1
At the same time when Indonesia faced an energy crisis due to the soaring price of gas and increasing scarcity of kerosene, a lecturer at Brawijaya University of Malang in East Java was pondering his contribution to society. To turn his musings to reality, Dr. Muhammad Nurhuda delved into renewable energy research in 2008. He focused on clean cooking stoves using waste-based fuel, for use in underprivileged communities in Indonesia.
A year later, Indonesia imposed a policy of energy conversion from kerosene to LPG by cutting subsidies for kerosene.
However, due to poor controls and oversight, there have been many cases of gas explosions and injuries from lack of knowledge by users. As a result, many people returned to kerosene if they could afford the high costs, or back to firewood which adds more of a burden on households and leads to rapid deforestation. Nurhuda’s biomass stove was an attractive alternative in these circumstances, and his research earnt him several awards and the opportunity to showcase his innovation to President Susilo Bambang Yudhiyono in 2009.
His biomass stoves underwent several transformations before the current UB.03-1 model that Kopernik distributes, was created. While working on earlier prototypes, Inotek, an Indonesian innovation incubator, chose Nurhuda’s UB.02 stove to receive funding and commercialization support from the Lemelson Foundation’s Recognition and Mentoring Program (RAMP). Unfortunately this model was not received well by the targeted communities due to its short duration of combustion and the firewood required for combustion. Although Nurhuda prefers to use small scrap wood to better conserve environmental resources, he observes that the public does not share the same sentiments: “Regardless how good a technology is, if it’s not practical, people won’t use it. The biggest complaints we received about the stove is about the size of the wood needed to fuel the fire. The impracticality and burden of cutting wood into pieces is the main reason why people were not eager to use it.”
After much more feedback and further improvement, the UB.03-1, whose patent is currently being processed, was ready for distribution. The stove is basically a gasifier stove with a pre-heating and counter flow burning mechanism to improve combustion. When standard-sized fuel is properly dried, the stove produces no smoke - significantly reducing health risks incurred from the thick black fumes of conventionally used stoves.
Compared to traditional three-brick/stone stoves, the biomass UB.03-1 stove can save fuels up to 80%.
A regular household switching from a kerosene stove can save up to USD $20 a month. With so many benefits, communities have been quick to convert to the new and improved stove.
“The results have been astonishing,” Nurhuda said. “The public is very enthusiastic, because to cook they now only need 3 logs of wood, 12 cm in length with 6 cm diameter, which is very little fuel for a fire that lasts over an hour. Small pieces of wood are still needed, but only to initiate the fire. An additional log can extend the fire for another 30 minutes.”
An alternative to a regular woodfire made possible by the new stove will “greatly aid rural communities, especially the housewives, who will save time, save costs on fuel, and their kitchens will not be so smoky.”
According to Nurhuda, more than 4000 stoves have been sold to date. Kopernik have distributed close to 1500 of the 4000+ stoves to Timor-Leste and to five different locations throughout Indonesia: Punden, Klaten, Bojonegoro, West Nusa Tenggara, and the surrounding area of Mt. Merapi in Yogyakarta.
provides a closer look of the village residents of Punden who received the stoves.