The most efficient stoves in the world and how to make them, with Kirk "Donkey" Mobert of Sundog School of Natural Building: 126

Kirk Mobert for Abundant Edge.png

In this continuation of the series of regenerative building and design, I checked in with a good friend of mine and a hero in the rocket stove and masonry heater sphere. Kirk Mobert, more commonly known as Donkey, is the founder of the Sundog school of natural building in northern California and has literally been on, and in, the ground through the development and maturation of rocket stoves and all of the innovations and advances for the last 20 odd years. This session might be a little heady for people who are new to rocket and masonry stoves, but for anyone looking to start from the beginning, you can check out the link to the first interview I recorded with Donkey back in the first season by typing either Donkey or rocket stoves into the search bar on the website or just clicking on the link in the show notes for this episode. 

In this episode we nerd out on the inner workings of the simple engineering behind some of the most efficient cooking and heating machines ever made. Donkey and I talk in detail about all of the potential applications for cook-stoves, home heating and even ovens and water-heaters that can be made from the same base that super heats wood or other biofuels into complete and clean combustion. We talk about some of the innovations that have come from tinkerers in the online forums around these topics as well as how you can get started making mad-scientist type pyro-experiments in your backyard with natural and recycled materials. We also go into detail about why the full journey of our energy and fuel sources need to be taken into account when calculating the efficiency and thermal output of an appliance. 

Since we describe a lot of aspects of stoves that can be hard to visualise just through audio, I’ve included a lot of links to images on the online forums that you can find in the show notes for this episode to make it easier to follow along. This was a really fun conversation, but I’ll warn you listeners that the nerd factor, much like when I get talking about earthen plasters and design theory, is really high on this one so get your pocket protectors and thick glasses on for this one

Resources:

Sundog School of Natural Building

A list of various components that we talk about in the episode with pictures and designs
Donkey 32 rocket stove forums

Rocket stove heaters FB group

Rocket Stoves / Rocket Mass Heaters International

Permies rocket stoves forums