The Dish

Thab: Sustainable Stove for Tibetan Nomads

Thab is a designed template that utilizes unwanted wire hangers from North America to assist in improving the portable dung stove used by Tibetan nomads.

1.6 million people die from indoor pollution every year. 3 billion people in the world are at risk from indoor pollution due to their cooking methods. In North America alone, 3.5 billion wire hangers end up in the landfill every year in the US, and it takes 100 years to decompose these wire hangers.

Thab strives to be the inexpensive solution that reduces the amount of smoke produced from burning fuel, decreases cooking time, reuses waste, as well as provides Tibetans with local jobs. Made from unwanted wire hangers from North America and local clay and stones, Thab is a portable dung stove designed for Tibetan nomads who live and cook inside tents. Thab creates a useful design out of unwanted materials.

Thab’s cylindrical form provides strength, and the use of cross struts supplies additional support. The L-shaped combustion chamber traps heat and leads it to the pot, igniting the escaping smoke and reducing the amount of smoke and cooking time. Clay is used to trap the heat inside the chamber, and the rocks secure the stove.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits of Thab on the Tibetan community, the project serves to “educate locals and help them understand how an improved stove could help them lead healthier lives,” according to Founder Liz To. She says that sustainability is an important aspect of the project, as the stove can last for at least a few years until it needs repairing, the stones and clay used can be returned to nature afterward, and the metal can be recycled.

Liz To designed Thab in 2011 while she was a student at Emily Carr University of Art. Since then, Thab has been exhibited at the 2011 Graduation Exhibition in Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Artsy Dartsy’s Future Masters vol.2 Exhibit 2011 at the IDSWest in Vancouver Convention Center, and National Student Industrial Design Show in 2012.