Note to Reporters: Photos of the cookstove and the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory are available with the news release at http://news.colostate.edu.
Colorado State University, its spinoff Envirofit International and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been honored by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for designing and disseminating a cleaner burning cookstove that is directly helping households throughout the developing world.
The Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer recognizes employees of FLC member laboratories and non-laboratory staff who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology.
Bryan Willson, founder of the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory and a mechanical engineering professor, started the cookstoves program at the university and is a co-founder of Envirofit.
His co-director, Morgan DeFoort, leads a team of undergraduate and graduate students who worked with Oak Ridge and Envirofit to develop a proprietary alloy for the cookstove’s combustion chamber as well as an orifice plate that helps the stoves reduce smoke and toxic emissions by up to 80 percent. The ring creates turbulence that directs unburned gases into the center of the combustion chamber.
“This award recognizes the collaboration that we welcome at Colorado State that provides our students exposure to some of the top engineers in their fields and also produces hands-on solutions applicable in the real world,” DeFoort said.
The award for “Materials for a Low-Cost, Clean Cookstove” is shared by Colorado State, Envirofit and Oak Ridge Envirofit researchers for developing the EnviroFlame Combustion System, which is the heart of Envirofit cookstoves.
The trick for the students is continuing to improve the efficiency and durability of the stove while keeping costs low, DeFoort said. Envirofit now has numerous products that incorporate the alloy and has sold over 300,000 stoves across India, Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
Envirofit is a private, non-profit technology leader using sustainable, scalable business models to solve global health and environmental problems. The four founding partners of Envirofit all have ties to CSU: Willson, co-director of the laboratory; Paul Hudnut, instructor in the College of Business; and two former students of Willson’s, Tim Bauer and Nathan Lorenz, now vice president of Operations and vice president of Engineering, respectively, for Envirofit.
“We are honored to receive this award. It is has been incredible to have access to the cutting edge research and knowledge base at Oak Ridge National Lab to help address people’s fundamental need to cook on cleaner more efficient biomass stoves,” Lorenz said.