This amazing technology called “Lanstove” serves the purpose of a lamp and a stove at the same time. An environment-friendly device, this technology is putting kerosene to a better use. Know more about this unique invention and how it is helping the rural population of India.
“It is a matter of shame that even 61 years after independence, about 60% of rural population in India has no electricity and they use ancient kerosene lanterns for lighting,” says Dr. Anil Rajvanshi.
His love for innovations and desire to change the lives of people in rural India made him return to India after a successful stint as a professor at the University of Florida for two years. To give shape to his bright plans, he started working with a rural NGO – Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in Phaltan, Maharashtra in 1981.
Through this organization NARI, Dr. Rajvanshi is extensively working in agriculture, renewable energy and sustainable development areas, especially those affecting the rural population. For the past 33 years, he has been engaged in various innovations that can solve rural India’s problems related to energy, water, pollution and income generation, broadly based on renewable energy concepts in environmentally sound ways.
He has seven patents under his name, and his book “Romance of Innovation” talks about the various research and breakthroughs that he has been a part of. TBI brings together a series of articles that talk about some of the amazing innovations by Dr. Rajvanshi and his team at NARI.
The first innovation in the series includes an amazing solution that is using kerosene in a more environment-friendly and healthy way.
“Lighting, which is a basic necessity and a fundamental need of humans, is missing from the life of a majority of the rural population,” Rajvanshi says.
A large number of people in India’s villages use kerosene for lighting purposes. The quality of light obtained from lanterns, etc. is very poor. The yellow flame which produces soot, CO and CO2 in the compact and small houses can be injurious to health.
Around 1.5 million people in the world die every year due to indoor air pollution created by inefficient kerosene lanterns and biomass cook stoves.
“The major issue is with good combustion. Most of the current devices lack that. If the combustion is efficient, kerosene can be a good source for cooking and lighting the houses,” says Rajvanshi.
Solution: A lamp which is also a stove
To address the issue, Dr. Rajvanshi has come up with a very interesting solution to rural India’s paucity of good light and fuel. He has invented a device called “Lanstove” which runs on kerosene, and not only cooks food but also produces a high quality light without polluting the environment.
• The interesting innovation needs a 15 litres kerosene cylinder and can easily cook a meal for a family of five members. It reduces the cooking time and also the possibility of food getting burnt.
“We researched about this technology for around 2-3 years, tested in various huts and finally launched it in the villages. We introduced many design changes like increasing the power of the lantern and using a modified Janata cooker to cook a complete meal for a family of four or five. This made the mantle lantern devices very efficient because heat, which was getting wasted before, was now being used for cooking.” Dr. Rajvanshi explains.
• The USP of this product is its dual purpose. While cooking food, this stove also works as a lamp which produces a bright light, equivalent to that from a 200-300 W electric bulb. The pressure of the stove is managed manually by a small bicycle pump. It can easily boil five litres of water in 50 minutes, which takes much longer in traditional cook stoves.
• Also, the product is made of stainless and mild steel. A mesh that covers the device prevents the Lanstove from overheating, hence making it safe for use by anyone. Also, the kerosene is kept in a separate cylinder which is placed at some distance from the stove, which again helps in preventing any mishap.
• An on/off valve controls the light output and heat. The stove has a life span of 10-15 years if used correctly and costs Rs. 6,000-Rs.7,000 when mass produced. The stove is also very silent as compared to existing pressurized kerosene stoves and Petromax lamps.
The biggest challenge currently is the availability of kerosene. “GOI policy allows only 5 liters/household of subsidized kerosene per month for below poverty line (BPL) families. This is completely inadequate for the Lanstove applications,” explains Dr. Rajvanshi. To address this issue, he took special permission from block officers to make enough kerosene available to the villagers for one year. Apart from that, he has been writing to various policy makers to make kerosene available to villagers through their UID cards.
Another challenge was to make the older generation understand the use of this technology initially. But they have also gradually adopted it after seeing the positive response from people.
Also, Bhakri or thick chapatti commonly consumed in rural Maharashtra takes a longer time to cook. “We cannot get adequate kerosene from the Public Distribution System (PDS) shops. If it is made available then we can use it for many more applications,” said a villager.
What people are saying?
Dr. Rajvanshi and his team have already distributed this amazing technology to 25 huts in Phaltan and have received a positive response from the villagers.
• “Children in the villages told their families that they will not come and sleep in the house if Lanstove is not used for cooking and lighting,” recalls Rajvanshi.
• “It produces a very bright light. Since no supervision is required during steam cooking, one can do other household work like sewing, cleaning the grain etc. while cooking and the device is also helpful for children to study,” said a woman in Phaltan, one of their first customers.
• “I will be willing to buy this stove and can give Rs. 20-30/day (US 45-65 cents/day) in payment installments,” said another resident of Phaltan.
Though this amazing technology is not currently made available at a large scale due to lack of enough kerosene, it can emerge as a feasible solution to inadequate lighting and harmful kitchen practices in the villages, once the kerosene issue is resolved.
“We all have to make the government understand to provide kerosene to the villages. With our efforts, around 180 million lives can be brought to high quality,” says Dr. Rajvanshi.
To know more about his technology, contact him at – firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go through his book “Romance of Innovation” to know more about his amazing work in the rural sector.