As the use of the traditional clay stove was considered an unhealthy way to cook, managing director Chim Polys and his team at Khemara Eco Energy Group have developed an eco-friendly one instead.
Polys tells The Post: “Our company manufactures this eco-friendly stove for two purposes.
“First is to reduce smoke which pollutes the environment. Second is to help our society reuse waste from sugarcane or coconut shells as burning materials.
“The reuse of biodegradable waste for burning reduces the production of waste. Therefore, the amount of waste that is sent to the dumpsites will ultimately be reduced.”
If more people use the eco-friendly stove and reduce waste production, Polys says it will help the authorities to cut down waste management costs and improve its efficiency.
It takes about 10 minutes to start a fire in the eco-friendly stove, but the process has been proven to be cost-efficient and minimises pollution.
The new design of the stove that uses wood or biodegradable waste for burning was created by Nhok Yin Ieng, who is also known as Nhok Sam.
He is an expert in mechanics and had lived in Italy for many years before returning to Cambodia with his wife.
He brought home his experience of producing household heating stoves and processing machines in the agricultural sector. He hopes to share his knowledge and experiences with the younger generation.
“I first started manufacturing the eco-friendly stove in 2018 after doing some detailed research.
“It’s gone through many steps – from making a test model, improving it, and testing it again before introducing the product into the market,” says the 68-year-old technician.
He says: “When I first returned to Cambodia, a few companies contacted me to design this type of product, but most of them favoured profit rather than helping society.
“My purpose was in line with Khemara Eco Energy Group because we preferred lower profit margins for the sake of the people’s benefit.”
There are two types of eco-friendly Eco Energy Khmer Stove on sale – the iron cooker and stainless steel cooker.
Non-plastic wastes that can be burnt in the eco-friendly stove include wood, charcoal, coconut shell, corn cob, sugarcane fibre, sugar palm flower, coconut flower, pine flower, dead sugar palm nut, tree leaves, and sugar palm branches.
Polys says: “If we use the stove, we don’t need to buy wood for burning. So, up to a certain point, it will reduce the demand for wood, which will minimise logging activities and spur forest conservation efforts.”
People who use the eco-friendly stove, he says, will not only save time and money but also help to protect themselves from diseases.
“It helps to prevent eye disease. We had observed that in the past the elderly had eye disease caused by the smoke from their traditional stove, but our product emits only a bit of smoke at the start [of the fire].
“The minimum emission of smoke from our eco-friendly stove helps to protect users from bronchitis and lung cancer.”
Giving an example of how the eco-friendly stove helps save cost, Polys says that one of his users is a food seller who bought it for business.
Before switching to using the new stove, he was spending $7 a day on gas. But after switching to using the eco-friendly stove, he spends only 10,000 riel to buy charcoal every day.”
Polys says: “Our stainless steel framed stove is more popular than the iron stove. This is because the stainless steel has a five-year warranty while the latter only has a one-year warranty.”
To make it easier for users to find burning material for the stove, Polys also plans to sell pellets made from unwanted sticks, straws and sugarcane fibre.
Next year, Polys will introduce the barbecue stove into the market while he is also researching on a stove that can burn waste in a less harmful way.
“We will be introducing a stove next year specifically for users who love barbecued food. We’re very grateful when people support a local product like ours.”