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Indian Institute of Science (IISc) develops cook stove that uses agricultural waste as fuel

According to reports, scientists of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a stove that uses agricultural waste as fuel; it is reported to cut the use of LPG by as much as 25%.

Called Ojas, this stove uses pellets of churned paddy stalks as fuel. A small fan is attached to the stove, which blows air on to the lit pellets, enabling full combustion and giving a perfect, blue flame, said Shashidhar N, production manager of Sacks Right Energy Innovations, the company that holds the R&D and production rights of the stove.

The stove is being sold for Rs3,000 and has a rechargeable battery, which is used to power the fan. A fully charged battery can power the fan for four hours. The fan has a regulator, which controls the flame, like the regulator on LPG stoves. Shobha Ravikumar, a user of Ojas, said this stove is an alternative to using LPG. The producers have developed a commercial model too, which is being used in cities like Mangalore, Mysore and Bangalore. The users are reported to have said that using Ojas has brought down their LPG usage by almost 25%.

Shashidhar said the production and marketing work began about 45 days ago and demands are pouring in not only from Karnataka, but also from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. He said that soon they would start producing 500 stoves a day.

The fuel of the stove—agricultural waste—is available throughout the country. According to an estimate, Karnataka alone produces more than eight lakh tonnes every year. Half of it is left after using it as fodder and biomanure. This leftover waste makes for the fuel of Ojas. One kg of pellet can give the blue flame for one hour.

Udayaprakash, one of the main dealers of the stove, said a meal can be cooked in 15 minutes on Ojas and the cooking cost turns out to be Rs15. Pellets come in packs of 5 kg and can be stored for a long time.

In common parlance, the product is known as pellet stove. It was originally designed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy and Technologies, formerly known as ASTRA.

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