Innovations in the pipeline

With the commercial launch of the stainless steel version of the TLUD gasifier wood stove, we, at Servals are already working on a basket of innovations to pave the way for this technology to have a broader socio-environmental impact. The Sankalp 2010 Award has certainly buoyed our efforts.

• While the stainless steel version caters to the mid-range of the market, we have plans to introduce an institutional and ceramic versions to cater to the “top-end” and the “Bottom-end”.
o Institutional Version: That can be offered to institutional users (esp. hot tea shops and rural entrepreneurs in catering business) so that they can economize on the fuel cost.
o Ceramic Version: This material substitution will greatly reduce the cost of the stove, making is very affordable for the rural poor.

• We are also working on our vision of shaping the biomass fuel supply chain. Our R&D for the next year is focusing on identifying fuel mixes that can be “packeted” as fuel at costs so low that will make users want to give up the tedious hours of fuel collection and buy it off the fuel counter. We have recently initiated a collaboration with the Murugappa Group (Chennai, India) to come out with a suitable fuel mix to optimize fuel efficiency and maximize cooking duration.

• We have also applied for International Product Validation and Verification from Aprevocho Research Center, USA and Bio-char research project, Australia.

By far, the toughest market to crack, we see the main challenge in the wood stove market as that of educating the customers to convert from the “open fires” stoves that are free but inefficient, to the TLUD stoves that are not free but affordable, and energy efficient. We are, of course, seeking to approach this challenge by leveraging the reach and power of testimonial message of women Self-help Groups. Their testimonial is indeed powerful - as we have seen in the kerosene burner market.


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