Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Nansen Cooker

Nansen Cooker

Devised in the 19th century by the Norwegian Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen, this may be the most efficient stove setup ever.

Heat passes up from the burner and around the outside of the cooking pot. This is normal, what you would expect from any stove, but in the Nansen Cooker the cooking pot is surrounded by a ring-shaped container holding cold water, ice or snow, and the combustion gases also heat this.

Then, when these hot gases have risen above the cooking pot, they hit another container sitting above it. This next container contains cold water, ice or snow, so some heat is absorbed there as well. Finally, the gases are forced to flow back down the outside of that ring-shaped container, giving up the last bit of heat they contain.

This arrangement is said to be 90% to 93% efficient at extracting energy from the burning fuel. Who said nineteenth-century technology was only about slabs of pig iron and lumps of coal?

As Nansen said: "The hot gases from the combustion of the kerosene, before they escape into the outside air, have to circulate along a tortuous path, passing from the hot interior to the colder exterior compartments, losing heat all the time. Thus a hot hoosh is preparing in the central vessel side by side with the melting of snow for cocoa or tea in the annulus. By the combination of 'Nansen Cooker' and primus stove one gallon of kerosene oil properly husbanded is made to last for twelve days in the preparation of the ordinary ration for three men."

A Nansen cooker is indeed highly efficient but also highly specialized. I think you need to be Norwegian and need a note from your mom or you aren't even allowed to touch one.


Stove Evolution


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