Selorm Yaotse Dorvlo

Development of a Biomass Cook Stove for Palm Oil Clarification and Biochar Production

Artisanal palm oil production accounts for most of the palm oil produced in Ghana. However the method of clarification is riddled with lots of inefficient and unsustainable practices that sometimes pose health hazards to the immediate processors. Again, the biomass residue generated could offer a solution to some of these problems. As such, this study sought to produce a cook stove that is efficient, easy to use, affordable for medium scale clarification of palm oil, has a sustainable source of fuel and could simultaneously produce heat and biochar. The design procedure adopted was iterative, as such eight preliminary tests were conducted; each an improvement of the previous stove tested. Design calculations were done as well as a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of the heat transfer and air flow through the stove before the final stove configuration was fabricated and tested. The final stove constitute a cut out barrel, a chimney, a grate, insulation for the stove and other additions to make handling easy. At the end of the stove evaluation tests, which were done by the water boiling tests and controlled cooking tests, the thermal efficiency of the stove was found to be 32.59 ± 7.11%. The cook stove processed approximately 103 litres of press liquor into 23 litres of palm oil within 55 minutes for one cycle of clarification while running on 10 kg of fuel mix and has biochar yield of 5%. Also the stove provides a healthy work environment with a maximum CO emission of 5 ppm. Overall, the study has shown that palm oil clarification can be done in an affordable, self-sustaining and smokeless work environment with the designed cook stove while recovering some bio char at the end of the process.