Dar Curtis was chairman of Solar Household Energy (SHE) He began a study of solar cooking in 1989. By 1991, he had learned that this simple technology had enormous potential for our planet where environmental degradation was causing ever greater concern. The use of biomass for cooking in hundreds of millions of households around the world was already unsustainable. The perpetual increase in population guaranteed the situation could only continue to worsen. He noted that “people are much better at growing people than they are at growing trees.”
Given the urgency of need for cheap and renewable household energy, Dar proposed a new solar cooker capable of mass production which combined durability, efficiency, and low cost. He partnered with Louise Meyer who had conducted solar cooking programs in Africa. Based on her field experience, the requirements for such a solar cooker were elaborated to include numerous considerations like portability, simplicity, and allure. Scientists and engineers at the Florida Solar Energy Center accepted the challenge and produced designs for an elegant cooker with only four components. It is called the HotPot.
Louise and Dar founded Solar Household Energy, Inc. in 1998 to induce private sector interest in merchandizing solar cookers on a massive scale in the developing world. SHE, Inc. partnered with the Mexican Fondo Mexicano Para La Conservación de la Naturaleza which arranged for the mass production of the HotPot and its marketing in Mexico. SHE has a small staff which is arranging the introduction of solar cooking in Africa and Latin America. Dar retired from the SHE Board in December, 2013 but continues to actively promote solar cooking.
Recent news and developments
- Darwin Curtis receives SCI Order of Excellence 2013 - In the 1980’s, Dar Curtis made his own solar box cooker from SCI instructions in the Sonoran Desert. Inspired, he began volunteering for Solar Cookers International. Together with SCI volunteer Louise Meyer, they created a new model of solar cooker: the HotPot. Together with Louise, Dar cofounded Solar Household Energy, Inc., (SHE), which is a public charity dedicated to introducing solar cooking where it can add quality to life and alleviate stress on the environment. Today, Dar works with SHE in developing and demonstrating the effectiveness and practicality of solar cooking technology, as well as training thousands of solar cooks.
- May 2011: On the public education front, Solar Household Energy(SHE) founding director Dar Curtis is participating as a contributing member of the Technology and Fuels Working Group of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. This alliance of governments, corporations and non-profits is promoting cleaner cooking solutions than the open cooking fires and inefficient cookstoves used by three billion people around the world. Solar provides the very cleanest cooking of all cookstoves. Read more in the SHE spring update 2011.