To provide an alternative to energy-inefficient, fume-heavy fire cooking, Paul Montgomery, a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University, is helping to design a better, cleaner stove for people in developing countries. Central to the design is a heat-powered fan.
Here's how the process is more energy efficient:
Montgomery's invention (still at the experimental stage) captures some of the stove's waste heat and converts it into sound waves in a thermo-acoustic engine. An electro-acoustic transducer then converts that acoustic energy into a tiny bit of electricity, which can charge a battery, provide lighting, and operate a fan directed at the combustion of the stove's biofuel.
Also, while we're talking about cutting-edge inventions, make sure you check out this year's Create the Future design content winners. A profile of Salim Nasser's Rowheel Wheelchair Propulsion System and the rest of this year's "Create the Future" standouts are featured in this month's NASA Tech Briefs issue.