On Monday, February 17th, OSU researchers advised by Dr. Nordica MacCarty in partnership with the local social business InStove were honored to receive the Impact Invention Award from the Lemelson Foundation at the Elevating Impact Summit sponsored by Portland State University.

Pictured from left to right include Rachel Brunette, Program Manager for the Lemelson Foundation;  Fred Colgan, Founder and CEO of InStove; Nick Moses, OSU humanitarian engineering graduate student and lead engineer for InStove; Dr. Nordica MacCarty, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering from OSU's Humanitarian Engineering Program; and Alanna Miel and Adam Creighton, Partnership and Development Directors for InStove. 

In addition, not pictured here includes an extensive team of over 13 OSU graduate and undergraduate students working to design and characterize the performance of the InStove high-efficiency water pasteurization system, and to develop a thermoelectric generator to utilize waste heat from the stove to provide small amounts of electricity to charge a cell phone or provide lighting. A network of volunteers and mentors from outside of OSU and InStove that includes professional engineers and microbiologists has also been instrumental in developing the technologies and advising the teams.

Below is a brief description of InStove's work that led to the award:

“InStove is an Oregon hybrid social venture with a mission to improve human and environmental health through renewable energy technology and education. Its efficient, multi-use, institutional biomass cooking stoves (InStoves) are in 34 countries, where they feed refugees and students, improve agriculture and livelihoods, make hospitals and clinics safer, and can provide safe drinking water. In collaboration with researchers in the humanitarian engineering program at Oregon State University, InStove incubates new technologies with transformative potential for international development. 

InStove's unique hybrid non-profit/for-profit structure paired with university research is an innovative approach to sustained social and environmental impact. Philanthropic funding (grants and donations) ensures that the technologies can be developed by the nonprofit with OSU support, and that significant numbers of them may be placed with subsidies for humanitarian projects that could not otherwise afford them. These technologies can reduce infection rates at hospitals, feed hundreds of people, and provide safe, pasteurized water using only small amounts of renewable biomass. This protects indoor and outdoor air quality, and climate, as well as forests and the habitats, watersheds, and livelihoods that depend on them. By focusing on stoves for institutions such as schools, orphanages, clinics and feeding centers, InStove achieves inherently scaled-up impact. The impact of one InStove (placed in a developing-world community-scale kitchen) on fuel use and climate-changing emissions can be the equivalent of converting over one hundred households to efficient cookstoves. Likewise, the nonprofit side's ability to raise philanthropic capital to buy stoves de-risks the volatility of sales for the for-profit side (InStove Mfg. Ltd.) that builds them. 

InStove leverages both sides of its hybrid organizational structure to achieve financial viability. While the non-profit side cultivates philanthropic resources and develops partnerships and R&D efforts with Oregon State, the for-profit side finds new markets--especially within the US and Canada--for its products. It has been commercializing stoves for over 5 years, and now in 2017 is expanding its staff while adding new technologies to its impressive product line. In 2016, a portable 20 Liter Stove designed primarily for household customers in the domestic market was added. This stove is also crafted for those who travel to the developing world to bring with them as checked-baggage to donate to a local project upon arrival. By meeting the basic needs of a variety of customer sectors and applying principles of sustainable social business with a research- and results-based approach, InStove is enhancing the resilience of communities worldwide.”