Mexico to Fire Up ONIL Stoves in 2008

The first plant to manufacture efficient, wood-fired stoves called ONIL, named for Don O'Neal, an engineer with HELPS International, an Christian, U.S.-based NGO, will be located in Mexico, according to the organization.

For centuries Mayan Indians in Mexico and Guatemala have cooked their meals using an indoor fire pit located on the house floor called a "three stone fire." Indoor wood-fired stoves can cause respiratory problems and burns, and the high demand for fuel to supply them can contribute to deforestation.

To eliminate smoke in the combustion process, the ONIL stove converts energy in the wood to hot gases, including oil vapor, which normally would be emitted as smoke. The fire is contained in an insulated combustion chamber to allow the fire to get hot enough to consume the oil vapor.

The ONIL stoves, which cost between $83-125, can reduce smoke emissions from within the dwelling by 99%, and reduce fuel consumption by 60-70%.

Helps International initially tested its ecological stove in Guatemala, where 41,000 stoves have been distributed. Helps aims to eventually distribute up to one million stoves in Guatemala and more in Mexico, with the support of companies and NGOs like Shell, the Ronald McDonald Foundation, Fundación Pantaleón, Cementos Progreso and Disagro, among others. Helps is still looking for investors to finance the Mexico plant, but hopes to begin construction next year.:: Via Reforma (Spanish link)

Watch the stove assembly video here

Tags: Guatemala | Mexico | Renewable Energy

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