Recent Research on Rocket Mass Heaters (and Bell Design)

There appears to be a huge amount of traffic and discussion through different internet forums about rocket mass heaters and reports from the authors on sales of the book on the subject confirm this incredible surge in interest. I am quite certain that this excitement stems from the tangible possibility …

Increase wood-stove efficiency with bricks and mud: Construction Details & Videos

Increase woodstove efficiency with bricks and mud This is a pretty simple do-it-yourself option for anyone interested in increasing the efficiency of an old (or new!) woodstove. That said, a heater in the home poses serious risks — greater than an outdoor oven, and potentially greater than the old stove …

Ovens, builders, a new (oven) book for German readers

Ian, Iantha, oven
Out of the blue one day I got a phone call from a guy named Ian Miller. He said he had built a few ovens, baked a fair amount of bread, was married to an Austrian and (among other things) interested in translating Build Your Own Earth Oven into German. With that began an adventure that is now resulting in a new (German!) edition of the book, published by Stocker Verlag, out of Austria (they also publish Austrian permaculturist Sepp Holzer, which makes it even more of an honor). Very interesting to let go of the book and let someone else take it all apart and put it all back together again in a language I can’t read or speak. But in the process of doing it, I realize there are some good stories I haven’t yet shared — not about translation and books, but about ovens and their people. So, while it’s late (especially in terms of giving credit where it’s due for previous projects) I hope this will be a start.

Adjusting mass for optimal performance

Here’s a valuable perspective on the benefits of smaller, easier, cheaper, “faster-cooling” ovens, and a working baker’s comparison w/the classic Alan Scott brick oven design (which isn’t always the best option for someone who wants to start small and simple).

The baker is Noah Elbers, who runs a small bakery in New Hampshire. There are some nice photos of him and his oven(s) on the web, but he’s clearly spending his time in the bakery rather than on the computer — hurrah! He does participate in the brickoven group on yahoogroups, which is where this comment came from.

It is worth noting that Noah fired his 4-5 inch thick cob oven for 5-6 hours every day and used it to run a business. For home-bakers who only use their ovens weekly or less, I’m now recommending just 3″ of thermal mass, and as much insulation as you can manage.

Guest Article: An Earthen Oven Odyssey by Joe Kennedy

efficient cob oven plans
Joe Kennedy, long-time natural builder, tells fascinating stories of the ovens he has built and the lessons he has learned from them. Joe addresses many useful design ideas that he has drawn from his experience. He also shares his drawings of a current oven he is buiding that synthesizes his experiences into a very efficient and useful oven.

Terra Preta and “the Biochar Solution”

The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change, by Albert BatesA review by Kiko Denzer Living trees lock up carbon, and burning releases it. That’s the conflict-ridden equation of global warming. Albert Bates has been at the front lines of the warming conflict since his 1990 title, Climate in Crisis. …