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Vol. XXVI, 3rd Quarter
July–September 2008

Superkalan, super fuel saver

Instability in the global prices of oil is forcing many people to reconsider energy-saving options to stretch the shrinking peso.

Imagine cooking a meal or boiling a pot of water with just a piece of twisted newspaper or a piece of coconut shell.  That’s how an unusual “superkalan” or stove can do.

Filipino inventor Narciso Mosuela, a former automotive worker introduced superkalan in La Union in 1978 that he developed into a business with startup capital of P70,000 and a burning determination to succeed.

super kalan

Superkalan was hard to sell in early years and people would laugh at the invention. But this did not deter Mosuela from producing the sturdy stoves.   “When oil prices go up, people will resort to cheap and traditional way of cooking,” was Mosuela’s cold business forecast.

Now his superkalan is being snapped like hotcakes and he has to produce 70 units of “superkalan” per week to meet soaring demand.

The stove can save households up to 70% in cooking fuel expenses and could last up to 20 years with normal use. It runs on plain newspaper, charcoal, sawdust, corncobs, carabao dung, and wooden sticks. Its cylindrical body is made of aluminum alloy that can withstand extreme heat.

The smoke that superkalan emits is unnoticeable since it purportedly converts it into heat through its chimney, which absorbs air and smoke before flushing these to its air regulator at the bottom section to regulate air flow and desired heat.

According to Armando Manzano, the superkalan he is using burn up about three sacks of coconut shell monthly.  He gets the coconut shell at P20 per. “It is as efficient as LPG stove. The only difference is that it costs me far less in fuel expenses.”

Superkalan was on display at the Philippine Business SET-UP Expo at SM Megamall last September 17 to 21 sponsored by Department of Science and Technology’s Technology Resource Center.

The event featured 131 exhibitors displaying hundreds of products from all over the country, which according to DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro was an event “to spread the good news about the successes achieved by SET-UP most especially in the regions.”

Other than the superkalan, Mosuela established NATOMO Manufacturing that also manufactures farm equipment customized for Northern Luzon farming conditions. The firm produces Porta Fast palay thresher, soft broom thresher, and grain cleaner/winnower.

The firm was able to acquire lathe and welding machines, bender, and other equipment needed to enhance production capability through the DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP.