Research Summary

The Score project aims to improve the life of over 60 Million people in developing countries. It started as a £2M research consortium, to significantly improve health, quality of life, economic growth and social and educational opportunities, and thus reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian sub-continent and South America by understanding the energy needs of their rural communities and working with them to develop the capability to manufacture an affordable versatile domestic appliance.
There are two major variants of the Score-Stove™. Score-Stove™1 is a low-smoke cookstove that does not generate electricity that has been installed in Nepal, Kenya and Zambia. Some installations also have PV cells to generate the electricity. Score-Stove™2 is a low-smoke cookstove that also generates electricity using the thermo-acoustic effect.

Score-Stove™2 combines the functionality of a high-efficiency cooking stove, with an electricity generator that may be fuelled by burning a range of biomass products. The original Score Team was a research partnership that brought together four UK universities, Nottingham, City University London, Leicester, Queen Mary University of London and NGO (the international charitable organisation Practical Action). The results were disseminated at an international conference in April 2012. City University London holds a world first of 23W electrical power from a wood burning thermo-acoustic engine, with new versions being developed.

The project has now widened to include other interested individuals and organisations in what we call the Score-community. Additionally, a Score-centre comprises a local University and organisation with field experience, normally Practical Action. The purpose of each centre is to adapt the stove for local use, provide training for manufacture and maintenance etc.

The ongoing goal of the project is to collaborate to ensure that the Score-Stoves are acceptable at a technological, economic and social level and that there is sufficient scope for the poor communities to develop numerous local businesses from the manufacture repair and innovative applications of Score and that the developed world contributes to the overall Score ethos.

The operation of the electricity generation is based on a novel application of Thermo-Acoustics originally based on a development by Los Alamos, NASA and the US military. Applications include: cooling of satellite systems and radar arrays, gas liquefaction and cryogenics, use of waste heat for air conditioning, separation of binary gas mixtures and many others.

There is a significant level of innovation in the Score research work in three respects:

  1. Research into the combination of the Thermo-Acoustic engine, linear alternator in a single device, powered by a biomass stove, which has not been attempted before.
  2. Design of a rugged and inexpensive linear alternator that could be easily mass-produced,
  3. The overall system design from the viewpoint of low cost, application of indigenous materials, use of local manufacturing skills and simplicity of assembly, which are major research issues compared to the high-cost and high-tech Thermo-Acoustic systems produced so far. These challenges formed the backbone of the scientific and technological work programme. Future work is concentrating on field trials and performance monitoring. If successful and affordable, we intend to mass-market the design aiming at multi million installations.