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Solar-Powered Cooking Arrives in Southern Mexico
December 20, 2010
NTD, Solar-Powered, Cooking, Southern, Mexico, Oaxaca, tacos, Michael Götz, deforestation, green house gases
Roadside food vendors in the tropical Mexican city of Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-harka) are going green, re-fitting their gas-powered food stalls with solar technology. For a Swiss solar cooking pioneer and activist who wants to change Mexico and the world, it's happening one street cart at a time.
A Mexican staple - street vendor Alfredo Garcia Martinez serves tacos in the city of Oaxaca.
But Martinez now uses just half the usual amount of gas to cook his food, thanks to a solar powered stove.
The technology focuses sunlight using parabolic screens covered with mirrors or reflective paper.
And on a sunny day, the system can cook up to two kilograms or four-and-a-half pounds of chicken in about two hours.
The solar kitchen is the brainchild of Swiss engineer Michael Götz, who has worked on using solar power for 12 years.
[Michael Götz, Solar Cook and Energy Consultant]:
"Everyone knows there is climate change, and petrol is getting scarce so we have to change our energy system. The sun is one of the future energy systems, so we are preparing now the future for solar energy in Mexico."
Approximately 28 million people use wood to supply their energy needs in rural Mexico, contributing to deforestation and green house gases.
Oaxaca native Lorena Harp is familiar with solar powered cooking devices such as this pot and helped Götz introduce his solar kitchens to small businesses in Mexico.
Harp says it's satisfying to see how much people gain from using the solar powered cooking tool.
[Lorena Harp, Ecological Projects Coordinator, Helu Organization]:
"They are producing less smoke, they are breathing less carbon dioxide; they are saving money, they are saving time by not using wood - they used to invest many hours doing this - now they can save wood, time and money with this type of technology."
The stoves are not yet for sale, but will retail at around 900 U.S. dollars.
They're not cheap but with more than 300 days of sunshine per year, Martinez believes his new system will eventually pay for itself.