Dr. Thomas Reed and Mr. Paal Wendelbo- Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Thomas Reed

Dr. Thomas Reed became interested in gasification of municipal waste in 1973 when his friend Dr. John Anderson developed the Purox MSW gasification process, and again later when he met Dr. Harry LaFontaine who built wood gasifiers in Denmark during WWII. In 1985 he was at a timber conference in South Africa and noticed the terrible local cooking conditions of the locals. He woke at 3 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. He knew that "downdraft" engine gasifiers used the intake of engines to draw air through fuel to make clean hydrogen-carbon monoxide gas fuel, and wondered if one could use natural draft for this purpose by turning the gasifier over with the charcoal on top rather than on the bottom. Dr. Reed returned to MIT and tried it, and saw it worked surprisingly well. Later renamed the “top lit updraft” (TLUD), this technology allows for significantly cleaner burning stoves. As a distinguished instructor, Dr. Reed continues to share his knowledge with people around the world.

Mr. Paal Wendelbo

Mr. Paal Wendelbo learned basic TLUD principals during German occupation of Norway in the 1940s, alongside hunters and members of the resistance movement hiding in the forest, who needed to and cook meals over small wood fires without smoke in order to not be spotted. Later, as a humanitarian working in Africa in the 1980s, Mr. Wendelbo observed the health and environmental issues caused by cooking over open fires. Remembering the smokeless fire in Norway, he started to think about how to control the TLUD flame for more efficient cooking. Four years of hard work later he found success in a tin can with lid, with sufficient holes for fresh air to enter and hot air to escape, and a year after that made the further discovery that putting more holes at the top of the combustion chamber resulted in cleaner burning and a hotter flame. This simple invention, dubbed the Peko Pe, was tested at the Technical High School in Copenhagen in late 1980s. Twenty years later the Peko Pe won the 2009 Aprovecho Stove Camp Award for best performing and cleanest burning stove. Mr. Wendelbo can reliably be found in his stove workshop, continuing to contribute to efforts to provide the world with clean burning stove options.

Congratulations to PCIA's 2nd and 3rd Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Dr. Thomas Reed and Mr. Paal Wendelbo!