The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity and Planet program has awarded a $15,000 grant to Ken Ekegren, Assistant Professor of Engineering at North Central State College for designing a clean cook stove for use in Malawi, Africa.
The light weight, energy efficient cook stoves will be built with materials available in Malawi. Ekegren will travel with NC State students to Africa over the break between fall and spring semesters. Upon their return, they will be invited to make a presentation about their work in Africa, competing for an additional award of up to $75,000.
Ken has made numerous trips to Malawi to better the conditions for countless residents. During the summer of 2009, Ken and his wife traveled to Malawi, Africa on a mission trip to an orphan project their church supported. In an effort to help the local villagers, Ken had his students design, build and test various solar ovens for the villagers surrounding the orphan project, in an effort to reduce their reliance on scarce and expensive wood as fuel. In 2012 Ken returned to Malawi to direct the building of an outdoor kitchen and brick stove that his students similarly designed and tested. They also distributed fifty solar “lawn lights” to villagers that his students had upgraded and taught the village tinsmith and pottery maker how to build fuel efficient “rocket stoves” to replace the open three stone fires currently used.