| Should we add more GH gases by biomass burning?
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Should we add more GH gases by biomass burning?

Should we add more GH gases by biomass burning?

Many researchers are concerned about Keralas carbon foot print .and are devising means and processes to reduce it. One group proposed the popularization of Hot Boxes in the kitchens of Kerala. A hot box (for the novice) is a box with with an opening large enough to support a cooking pot. The box needs precooking preparation. First step is collecting the suitably dry biomas from own the backyard or others. Then chopping it to some sort of uniform size. This is ready for stuffing the HB now. Fill the HB tightly with biomass. Now the HB is ready for starting a cooking process. Light the biomass, and it will burn without any open flame. Place the pot with the half or partly cooked food stuff over the hot box. Further cooking will take place with out much of assistance of attending. The expectation is that such a HB will reduce the carbon foot print

A claim is made that the “Parishath Aduppu” is a great success. However, the design reduces the spread of smoke inside the kitchen by adding an exhaust stand pipe (generally recommended is a readymade AC pipe- opening over the roof. The success claimed in the proposal is not supported by a life cycle study of this “aduppu” anyway.

A similar claim is made for the “hotbox”, HB, of IRTC. As I understand, it warrants a two stage cooking of rice (as explained during the presentation by Dr RVG Menon). First stage is boiling the pot of water in the three stone stove or aduppu, then pouring the readied rice into the pot and taking it to boiling. In the stage two, the boiling pot of rice and water is shifted to HB.

5. As explained in the meeting the HB is a device or a box stuffed tight with dry biomass. After firing the biomass, the pot in stage two is kept over the or in the HB, so that further cooking to the finality takes place in the second stage.

Yet the

biomass is still burned and the effluent GH gases are escaping to the lr troposphere. There is no documented evidence or results of a pilot study to demonstrate that the unit discharge or release of GH gases in HB is considerably less than from the conventional cooking practiced in our Kerala kitchens.

The HB seems (not demonstrated by a video presentation nor by a demo) to be a device to consume the biomass, but the downstream analysis of the gaseous effluent for its component gases are not presented along with the proposal. Consequently, the role of HB in GH gases reduction remains to be demonstrated. Science has it that instead of biomass burning, burying the biomass under the soil is a mechanism of sequestering GH , (i.e., CO2.) released by the biomass

The acceptability of HB by the Kerala society is not proved or supported even by a telephonic survey or similar

The Public sector oil companies of India have proposed a scheme for “free” LPG connections with gas-table and gas cylinder to all the BPL families in during the next five years (2010 onwards). This proposal is pending approval of the core committee and the Union Cabinet. Hence I am unsure of the need and acceptance of the proposed HB in the state. .


he new player in the cooker market is a game changer – the Induction cooker. It is a smoke-free, burn proof and overall cheap device (in a price band Rs.2000-4000) that keeps the pots stain-free and perhaps keen attention free. All said and done it is a great boon to the Keralite women whose houses are connected to the state electrical grid.

Even in the BPL families, the kitchen always welcomes some new tool rather than the variants of classical three stone wood stove or tools like Parishath aduppu and HB..

Biomass may exist in large volumes in the state. But with the modern mindset, I wonder how many of the folks will go around fetching biomass needed to energise the HB.

(I did buy a parishath aduppu and discovered the “advantages” myself in the mid 80s)

Dr. Thrivikramji.K.P.

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