Oak Ridge National Laboratory

 

News Release

Media Contact: Ron Walli (wallira@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations
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ORNL, partners earn FLC honor for cookstove technology

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 2, 2012 — Envirofit International, the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Colorado State University have won a Federal Laboratory Consortium award for excellence in technology transfer for a clean-burning cookstove designed for the developing world.

The story began in 2007 when Envirofit and Colorado State approached ORNL in search of guidance for selecting a commercially available low-cost metal combustor alloy able to withstand harsh operating conditions. The combustor component in the Envirofit stove design had to resist temperatures up to 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit in the presence of corrosive compounds resulting from burning a variety of biomass. The metal cost could not exceed a few dollars per pound.

Mike Brady of ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division led a team that identified a family of low-cost iron-based alloys with the potential to meet Envirofit's design targets. ORNL also assisted Envirofit in specifying alloy compositional tolerances needed to achieve durability targets without significantly increasing alloy cost.

Under a work for others agreement funded by Envirofit, ORNL provided ongoing alloy specification and impurity tolerance input, assisted with the design and interpretation of corrosion studies to assess the durability of candidate alloys. ORNL also performed advanced characterization of corrosion products on laboratory and field-tested metal components.

This knowledge transfer resulted in a joint patent disclosure between Envirofit and Colorado State University, and ORNL for the metal combustor component and cookstove assembly.

To date, more than 150,000 Envirofit G-3300 stoves have been sold in the developing world. These stoves reduce smoke and harmful gases by up to 80 percent, reduce fuel use by up to 60 percent and reduce cooking time by up to 50 percent compared to traditional cooking fires and stoves. The core technology developed for the G-3300 has now been integrated across six models of wood and charcoal stoves.

Brady noted that this success story illustrates technology transfer at its best as ORNL was able to quickly provide materials selection guidance by leveraging extensive experience in high-temperature materials. This expertise was gained under the Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Industrial Technologies programs and Fossil Energy Advanced Research Materials programs.

Other ORNL members of the team were Larry Walker, David Stinton, Tim Theiss, Thomas Rosseel, Joe Marasco, Alex DeTrana and Frank Damiano. The award citation was for "Materials for a Low-Cost, Clean Cookstove."

DOE laboratories won a total of seven of the 23 FLC awards for 2012 with the other honors going to Argonne National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. The awards will be presented May 3 at the FLC national meeting in Pittsburgh.

The FLC (http://www.federallabs.org/), which was organized in 1974, is a nationwide network of federal laboratories that provides the forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory mission technologies and expertise with the marketplace. Today, more than 250 federal laboratories and centers and their parent departments and agencies are FLC members.

More information about Envirofit is available at http://www.envirofit.org/.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE's Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://science.energy.gov/