See our rocket stove article for more details.
Rocket stoves are so efficient that many users don’t bother chopping wood, instead they just burn twigs they find lying around. The rocket stoves achieves this remarkable efficiency with a double burning chamber – one to burn wood, and one to burn smoke.
Rocket stove was developed by Dr. Larry Winiarski to help solve third world cooks with 2 problems – efficient fuel use and pollution. Villagers who used to cook on open fires inside their dwellings were able to turn what used to a be a pollutant into a bunch more heat.
Rockets stoves have recently become very popular in the permaculture movemement, where a core guiding principle is to eliminate the concept of waste by using it as a resource for other things. Composting does something similar by taking garbage and turning into soil.
Many rocket stoves are extremely heavy and bulky. Permaculture Guy Paul Wheaton is shown here hauling a rocket stove by bicycle, but you’ll notice he needs a small army of folks to haul such a big thing around. However, recent rocket stove innovations have made them much more comfortably portable. Which brings us to 5 gallon buckets.
I’m showing off several rocket stove designs that have been made portable to the point where they can be hauled around by a single person. They’ve done this at a cost, by eliminating thermal mass. Thermal mass allows a rocket stove to store heat for a period of time. If your rocket stove is meant to stay put, it’s best to use a more traditional design.
You’ll notice all these stoves use METAL buckets, not plastic. Plastic buckets will NOT work for this project, I can guarantee that.
These stoves are simple enough that you can make one on your own in an afternoon, and they’re clean enough that no one will know when you’re using one.