Irvine Rotarian Ray Sanford recently visited the fuel-efficient stove factory near Antigua, Guatemala funded by an International Matching Grant from the Rotary clubs of Irvine, Surf City-Huntington Beach, Newport Balboa, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Niguel and Norwalk. The grant was for an initial order of more than 1,000 stoves and was designed to “kick-start” the production to the point where the factory would be self-sufficient, thereby meeting sustainability guidelines.
One of the initial Ecocina stoves produced by the factory is still going strong…and is still safe to touch even when cooking. Complete combustion eliminates the need for a chimney.
The factory sits on a 25-acre site. To the right is the stove demonstration area.
What started out as a single worker producing stoves in the courtyard of his home is now on a 25-acre site that employs 24 people and produces more than 4,000 stoves a year. The stove and the factory employing local labor was designed by Nancy Hughes, a member of the Eugene Southtowne Rotary. It’s success quickly led to the start of StoveTeam International, a non-profit organization that helps local entrepreneurs start fuel-efficient stove factories.
A worker smooths the body of a larger stove after being released from the mold. Stove bodies are then placed in a water bath until they are completely cured.
Ecocina stove bodies ready for the next stage of assembly. This involves adding the combustion chamber and then surrounding it with pumice rock for insulation.
The Ecocina fuel-efficient stove is a marvel of effective simplicity. Designed to use far less wood than traditional cooking methods, it completely burns all the particulate matter, eliminating the smoke and also the need for a chimney. It’s portable and is easily moved without losing it’s effectiveness.
Two factories started by StoveTeam International are featured at the Rotary Central American Project Fair held in Antigua, Guatemala. Ecocomal is in Guatemala while e’copan is in Copan Ruinas, Honduras.
The factory now produces four other models of stove; some based on the Ecocina and others that have increased cooking areas. All use the same “rocket-elbow” design for complete combustion.
One of the larger, built-in, stoves, complete with chimney.
The town of Antigua retains its Spanish Colonial architecture, complete with cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.
Traditional Guatemalan woven products are highly desired. Each village has its own pattern.
More traditional T-shirts.
The local factory owner, Marco Tulio Guerra, used stove profits to start a school for children whose parents could not afford to send their children to the local school.