Last updated: November 3, 2015
GACC on solar cooking
Direct solar thermal energy can be used to power solar cook stoves, which can save time, work, money, and combustible fuel in suitable circumstances. Unlike solar photovoltaic energy, which requires expensive PV cells to convert sunlight into electricity, solar thermal energy can be captured instantly and directly with a solar cooker, which generates zero emissions heat for cooking food and boiling water. By comparison, a one hundred square foot PV array would be needed to power a single hotplate. Solar thermal energy can also be used for solar hot water heaters, sterilizers and food driers.
- Health Emissions: Use of direct solar thermal energy to power cookstoves produces no smoke, thus eliminating health impacts associated with cooking over open fires or crude stoves.
- Climate Impacts: Solar energy use emits no greenhouse gasses and does not contribute to climate change.
- Fuel Efficiency: While the efficiency of solar thermal energy for cooking is dependent on sunshine, this “fuel” is available free of charge, making it an extremely cost-effective solution, especially for populations with limited access to other fuel sources.
- Fuel Availability: Most people cooking over open fires or on crude stoves live where sunshine is abundant and solar cooking is possible, as indicated by NASA’s solar insolation maps. However, in the sun’s absence there is often a need to burn combustibles as well, in which case multiple stove technologies can compliment each other. In some places solar can be the main source of household energy, while in others it is an excellent back-up energy source. As with other fuel efficient stoves, solar cookers are unfamiliar to most cooks in the developing world who are used to cooking over an open flame, so their adaptation to these stoves requires careful training and follow-up.
Global cooking greenhouse gas emissions
Recent news and developments
- March 2015: Julie Greene, Executive Director of Solar Cookers International, while attending the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves launch party for their new "Empowered Entrepreneur Handbook", noticed the HotPot solar cooker being featured in a prominent location. Another step forward for solar cooking.
- March 2015: The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves offers their catalog of approved stoves, including ten solar cookers and one heat-retention cooking device. See the catalog You can apply to have your solar cooker added. Read more...
- January 2015: GACC has released their November 2104 Post-Summit Report
- January 2015: Patricia McArdle responds to the GACC Post-Summit Report from the November 2014 conference.
- November 2014: Hillary Clinton acknowledges solar cooking's role in solving cooking fuel crisis - In her keynote speech at a Global Alliance meeting, Hillary Clinton stated that students from the Clinton School of Public Service had traveled overseas to teach solar cooking.
- September 2013: Climate and Clean Air Coalition High Level Assembly Announces Ambitious Agenda - Norway’s Minister of Environment and Minister of International Development served as co-hosts of the Assembly and made a significant announcement early. “We want to see other countries act,” said Bård Vegar Sohjell, Minister of Environment. “We want to enable those with the will, but not necessarily the resources, to act. Concrete efforts in developing countries are important. We are pleased to announce that Norway, in addition to strengthening our efforts at national level for this year and next year collectively, will contribute an additional 110 million Norwegian kroner (approximately 20 million US dollars) to reduce emissions of short lived climate pollutants, with a main focus on efforts in developing countries.” Read more..
- March 2013: Solar cooking promotors at the GACC conference - The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves sponsored the Clean Cooking Forum 2013 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from March 18-22, 2013. The solar cooking community and the Solar Cookers World Network is being represented by Crosby Menzies (South Africa), Gabrielle Simbriger-Williams (US), Sanu Kaji Shrestha (Nepal), Scot Frank (US/China), Nguyen Tan Bich (Vietnam), Yasaya (Nigeria), Alex Kee (Malaysia), Catlin Powers (US/China), and Julie Greene (USA) took the photo. The group held a solar cooking demonstration, and plan to present a joint presentation on the last day of the conference. The participation by these advocates of solar cooking helps to build the alliance with fuelwood cookstove advocates, and helps spread the message of the integrated cooking method.
- December 2012: New study estimates 4 million deaths globally from household cooking smoke each year - The recently released "Global Burden of Disease 2010", funded by the Gates Foundation and just published in The Lancet, comes to this conclusion, and is double the previous accepted estimate. The study isolated the effects of cooking smoke only. There appears to be a shift from communicable children's diseases to non-communicable disease in adult populations as the major health threat affecting developing countries. The cooking problem is compounded by the fact that achieving a fifty percent reduction in cooking smoke does not correlate to a fifty percent reduction in respiratory disease. Substantial smoke reduction is required to see significant improvement. Read more about the air quality findings from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves press release.
- December 2012: GACC welcomes interested promoters to come to the Spring 2013 Clean Cooking Forum to be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Visit the new event website: http://www.cleancooking2013.org
- November 2011: The EPA had decided to test at least one solar cooker for the GACC.
- October 2011: The World Health Organization says that the smoke and gases from cooking fires in the world's poorest countries contribute to nearly two million deaths a year — that's more than malaria. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and the cookstove industry announced last year that they would work together to create a market for better cookstoves, under the aegis of the United Nations. The U.S. government has committed over US$50 million. Half of that will go to NIH for research on how much household air pollution needs to be reduced to produce real health gains. Read more...
- 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 nonprofits 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.
Articles in the media
- NEW: October 2015: Can solar cookstoves help reduce greenhouse emissions in developing countries? - The Guardian
- July 2015: Solar Power Can Provide Hot Meals for the Masses - National Geographic
- October 2011: 100 Million Fuel-Efficient Cookstoves by 2020, Is It Possible? - The Morningside Post at Columbia University
- October 2011: Curbing Cooking Smoke That Kills More People Than Malaria - National Public Radio (NPR)
- April 2015: Emerging From The Darkness: New Process Aims To Tackle Black Carbon - Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
- Global Alliance YouTube channel