FUELS AND OVENS
The more economical, convenient, clean and
attractive the kitchen, the greater is the satisfaction it gives to the
housewife. Wise selection of fuels and ovens help to conserve time and energy
of the homemaker and induce economy in family finance.
Combustible substances used for the production
of heat are known as fuels. They can be graded according to the amount of heat
produced. No home or industry can exist without them. All fuels contain the
basic combustible elements carbon and hydrogen along with non- combustible
materials such as carbon-di-oxide and moisture.
Qualities of a Good
A good fuel should be
Easily storable and transportable
products of combustion should be easily disposable.
TYPES OF FUELS
under three major categories solid, liquid and gaseous in their natural or
prepared state. Fourth category is electricity and micro wave and fifth
category includes solar energy.
Solid fuels : Natural : Wood,
Prepared : Charcoal
Liquid fuels : Natural : Petroleum
Prepared : Kerosene
Gaseous fuels : Natural : Natural
Prepared : Coal
gas, Acetylene,Biogas, Methane gas
Electricity and Microwave Solar energy.
It is the cheapest and widely used type of fuel. When considering wood,
some burn quickly and steadily for a longer time. Wood is well dried and cut
into desired pieces before use. When one end of a piece of wood is burnt, an
oily liquid can be seen to ooze out at the other end. The more the oil in the wood,
the better it burns (e.g.) Eucalyptus. Commonly the wood of tamarind, margosa,
mango and casuarina trees are used. Expensive wood is never used unless it is
decayed. People who are bothered about the use, care and maintenance of oil,
feel that gas or electricity is highly convenient than fire wood. It is freely
available in many rural parts of India.
The disadvantages of using wood are as follows:
It is difficult to kindle and when wet, does not
Transportation and storage may be a problem.
Storage place may become a breeding place for
ants, white ants and reptiles.
Certain types of fire wood gives out more smoke.
Smoky kitchen suffocates the worker. The kitchen
and vessels are darkened with soot and smoke from fire wood.
Cleaning the dirty vessels will be more
difficult for the homemaker.
Proper chimneys need to be constructed to let
out the smoke from the kitchen.
In India, cowdung cakes are used as a
supplementing fuel along with firewood. They are considered unhygienic since a
lot of insects multiply in the place where they are stored. However, they are
good fertilisers and it would be more appropriate to use them as manure.
Owing to earthquakes and other natural
phenomenon, forests were burnt and burried. As a result, coal is the product of
heat and pressure on vegetable and animal matter through many generations. Coal
is dugout from underground mines, in many parts of India. In India, coal mines
exist in Singareni of Andhrapradesh, and Raniganj of West Bengal. Lignite is
available in Neyveli. It gives intense heat and produces more smoke.
It is the charred remains of wood heated out of contact with air and is
widely used for domestic purposes all over India. It burns till completely
fuels are petroleum, petrol spirit, kerosene, alcohol, etc. Kerosene is
commonly used in rural Indian homes for stoves and lamps. It is cheap and easy
for use in stoves.
Coal gas, acetylene gas, liquefied petroleum gas, cowdung gas are
gaseous fuels. In India liquefied petroleum gas is commonly used. It is
considered as the best domestic fuel as it does not blacken the vessel and
wall. It is economical and the heat can be easily regulated. Gas can cause
carbon monoxide poisioning if it is not lighted hence care must be taken to
turn off the cylinder valve securely when not in use.
Cowdung gas (Biogas)
Bio gas is
produced by the degradation of biological matter by the bacterial action in the
absence of free oxygen. The cheapest and easily obtainable biogas is gobar gas
or dung gas which is produced by the anaerobic fermentation of cattle dung in
specially constructed plants. Methane 60% and hydrogen 40% are the main
combustible constituents of biogas. Bio gas burns with a smokeless blue flame.
The gas has all the advantages of gaseous fuel such as high calorific values,
economical and cheaper, cleanliness of utensils and surrounding areas, absence
of smoke, dust and dirt. It does not contain the poisonous gas carbon monoxide
as an ingredient.
The fermentation tank is a brick-lined well, which is filled with
cowdung made into a liquid paste with water. This is then covered with an iron
drum, introduced upside down into the well. The gas produced is collected into
the inverted drum. Through an opening at the top of the drum, the gas can be
led to the kitchen by pipes. It solves the fuel problem in villages.
Though electricity is the common fuel in many advanced countries, its
use for cooking is a luxury, known only to a few rich Indian families. It gives
intense heat very quickly. There is no botheration of smoke or dust, and the
kitchen can be kept clean. Electric cooking ranges are still beyond the reach
of many people in India. One has to remember the saying that electricity is a
good servant, but bad master.