This design has the advantage of fueling the side burners with a single fire in the middle. Or, each unit can be used individually simply by blocking off the internal duct work. When using the stoves together with a single fire, only the side entrances need to be closed off to keep the heat where it needs to go.
The top of the large central stove has been nicely beveled to fit a traditional clay comal for preparing tortillas, a common staple food here. The comal also closes the central opening to redirect the fire and heat to the side units.
We are all very happy with the outcome of this latest effort. The stoves work superbly, and fulfill all of the design and function requirements of a fuel efficient stove. The recipients of our initial production run are very happy with the product; and most importantly, are experiencing a substantial reduction in firewood usage, and greatly improved air quality even in semi-enclosed areas.
But . . . our experience in the field has been that three burners is a bit much for a single family, Unless several women are preparing multiple dishes for a large group, there isn’t much need for such a large stove. No worries, we just downsize the design while sticking with all of the same construction principles.
Lake Atitlan Wood Stove Project– The San Antonio Kitchen
In this case, we have eliminated one of the side burners while keeping the size of the foundation the same to give the cook a flat work area close to the stove. The general idea is to use this area to grind corn with a traditional stone corn mill, but can be used for any number of things including stacking firewood to have it close at hand. The size of this stove is really ideal, and can serve a large family, or a single couple.
The stove still provides all of the flexibility of the larger design, and has the added benefits of less production time and material, and a smaller footprint (without the side table). This model is our primary focus now. The stoves are being produced and used in the San Antonio Aguas Caliente (Antigua) area. The Guatemala Wood Stove Project expects to increase production and expand to Panajachel and the Lake Atitlan area.