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Team MASAH’s Experience With Efficient Cook Stoves in Bluefields, Nicaragua

By Saul Hernandez-Morales -- Team MASAH is composed of four mechanical engineering students – Miguel Gomez, Abimael Bastida, Saul Hernandez, Alejandro Lobato – and a faculty advisor – Dr. Hohyun Lee – from Santa Clara University. The team’s mission was to design and build an efficient cook stove in the hopes of one day implementing it in Nicaragua. In order to gain first-hand knowledge of the cooking methods currently employed in the region, and to therefore more accurately measure the impact of an efficient cook stove in Nicaragua, Miguel Gomez and I traveled to Bluefields, Nicaragua during the last week of March 2011. The trip to Nicaragua surpassed our expectations and we were able to enhance our prior understanding of the current cooking methods. We successfully implemented three Proleña efficient cook stoves and witnessed the positive impact they provided to the Nicaraguan people. Following our work in Bluefields, blueEnergy plans to continue implementing the Proleña-designed efficient cook stoves within the community.
Local cook explaining traditional cooking methods to Saul Hernandez
and Miguel Gomez at a Bluefield's restaurant.

Implementing the Prolena efficient cook stove

Miguel Gomez, AJ Bastida, Saul Hernandez, Alejandro Loboto before presenting the
MASAH Stove at the Senior Design Conference in Santa Clara University.
 In addition to the field research conducted, we also established contact with various companies and NGO’s working on efficient cook stove technology to further help us in our mission. As a result of the trip to Nicaragua and the research conducted, we were able to make essential modifications in our design that will hopefully ensure cultural acceptance of our efficient cook stove model. Furthermore, Team MASAH was able to finalize its “MASAH Stove” design, which focused on improving fuel combustion within the structure by providing adequate air flow to the system. The air flow is created with a fan, which is run by power-generating thermoelectric modules. The efficient cook stove uses concepts based on renewable energy, green technology, and social ethics. This should result in socioeconomic benefit to the beneficiary by decreasing the amount of fuel needed to run the stove, thereby increasing individual household savings.

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