A Human-Centred Designed Biomass Gasifier

This project here presented is my Master Thesis developed as part of the 'Sustainable Product Innovation in Vietnam, Combodia and Laos' SPIN-VCL in the frame of the SWITCH-Asia Programme launched by the European Commission. SPIN Vietnam developed a rice husk gasifier cookstove that could provide people in rural areas with an alternative to fossil fuels and gas stoves while significantly palliate the high levels of indoor pollution and improve the economic situation of many families in rural areas.

// Redesign the gasifier considering human, socio-cultural and usability aspects. The new design should result into a user-friendly and desirable product to fit in the Vietnamese market //

For almost four months I was based in Hanoi, Vietnam where I conducted an intensive user and context research based on the Human-Centred Design toolkit designed by IDEO.org in collaboration with IDE Cambodia. The research in the North and South of Vietnam included techniques such as community-driven discovery, in-context immersions, sacrificial concepts, participatory co-design, interviews…

Context Research

Context Research

Mock-ups - Testing working principles

Mock-ups - Testing working principles

User research - Activity example

User research - Activity example

User research

User research

Context Research - Beehive coal

Context Research - Beehive coal

From the gathered insights a several mock-ups were built to test working principles and involve the users in the design process. From the feedback obtained, a final prototype was built with the help of local manufacturers and tested again in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam. This stage, was the last stage of the co-creation process before detailing the final rice husk biomass gasifier

Final Design
The resulting gasifier considered the user insights gathered in the South and improved several features such as: flame control and stability, general dimensions, reactor’s working temperature and the char unloading system. The selling cost of the gasifier was estimated to be around $30 when mass-produced.

The prototype

The prototype

Gas flame generated

Gas flame generated

User tests - My Quoi

User tests - My Quoi

Cooking in the rural context. Evaluating usability and technology.

Improved Gasifier - Renders

Improved Gasifier - Renders