Young entrepreneurs align with Kickstarter to promote their parabolic solar cooker - One Earth Designs began in 2008 to develop their SolSource parabolic cooker. In September 2010, the cooker won the Dutch Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. The design team continues their research on the cooker, with the goal it will be the world's first temperature-adjustable solar cooker with six discrete settings up to 1,000°C (1,832°F). It will provide users with the capacity to generate electricity, heat their homes, purify their water and cook with stored solar energy at night or on cloudy days. An article in gizmag explains that those wishing to help this fledgling company are offered the opportunity to purchase today's basic cooker for $249 USD, with free shipping in the continental USA. The projected retail price will be $399 USD, so this is a great way to help them out, and get a great deal. Delivery of the cookers will happen in October 2013. More information..., Kickstarter page
World Refugee Day focusses on the needs of displaced populations - World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. Even though the day has passed, June 20th, awareness and action are continuing. Universal Giving has organized a group of relief projects to help raise donations. 100% of the donation reaches the intended foundation and project. This year Solar Household Energy (SHE) is featured among the projects for their work promoting solar cooking worldwide. SHE is a global leader in this effort. Consider helping them. Donation information...
Solar Cookers International to dedicate more resources to the renamed Solar Cookers International Network Since its founding in 2006, the Solar Cookers World Network has continued to expand. Network members now include over 500 NGOs, individuals, and manufacturers working in the field to advance the cause of solar cooking. At the same time, the Network’s wiki resource has grown to become an unparalleled resource for solar cooking knowledge worldwide. With contributions of articles and photos from Network members and monetary and administrative support from Solar Cookers International (SCI), this wiki now contains nearly 2000 articles, covering all aspects of solar cooking design and promotion. Today SCI renews its commitment to the Solar Cookers World Network and its corresponding Wiki. SCI will direct more resources toward both. In the near future, SCI will ask all Network members to give us their feedback to help us prioritize our efforts to assist in areas of greatest need. Read the “Letter from the Executive Director” in the June 2013 issue of Solar Cooker Review for more information about SCI’s Strategic Plan for 2013-2018. To communicate SCI’s renewed and expanded commitment to the Network, starting today, June 1, 2013 the name of the Network and Wiki will change, but not their substance. The Solar Cookers World Network will become the Solar Cookers International Network (SCInet); the Solar Cookers World Network Wiki will become the Solar Cookers International Network Wiki. SCI welcomes your input. Please contact SCI at email@example.com if you have questions or comments.
An inspired environmentalist shares her tips and techniques for solar cooking - Faustine Odaba lives in Kenya, and has been promoting solar cooking since the early nineties. Her reputation with solar cooking efforts is well known and she is lovingly referred to as "Mama Solar". In the accompanying video she offers practical solar cooking tips and techniques, and describes the features of different types of cookers. She also explains the advantage of using heat-retention cooking to complement solar cooking. It is inspiring to see how she careful crafts every scrap of recycled material into useful household products. She gently reminds everyone "The sun can bring a meal to your table."
Solar cookers preparing food for 130,000 people daily at the refugee camps in Chad - Derk Rijks, a volunteer with the KoZon Foundation, recently responded to Jewish World Watch with this note of appreciation. "Last week I was at the Touloum Refugee Camp. The chief of the workshop, Fatimé, told me there were new arrivals. We walked over to the last of the dunes and there was one woman who had just walked in with four kids, sitting in the sand. Her village was bombed one week ago, and she had fled to escape the Janjaweed, walking for seven nights. Fatimé looked at me, I nodded, 'yes', and in the next few hours she had her cooker and started her solar cooker training, even before she had a shelter. No words needed, no paper needed. That is the way your contribution works." He also explains that in the six camps where they work in Chad, and in the villages of the population around the camps about 29,000 families now do solar cooking, and about 130,000 people are eating solar cooked meals. In this part of the world solar cooking works about 300 days a year. From the empty bags of the food shipped in by the World Food Programme, and the snippets of aluminum foil and cardboard left over from the manufacture of the cookers, the refugees make "thermos baskets" to keep the food, cooked between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., warm until the evening meal at 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. They do not have to search for wood so much any more and there are far fewer conflicts for that reason. As one of the elected representatives of the women refugees said: "Solar cooking brings us justice and peace".
Interesting facts about the Sun Oven - The Sun Oven is manufactured by Sun Ovens International primarily in Elburn, Illinois, USA. Recently Paul Munsen, the company president, was questioned about where their ovens were being sold. They have been sold in over 130 countries. The Sun Oven is usually considered to be the standard which other solar box cookers are judged by. They are well made of quality components, and quite durable. The company has a revised version of the Sun Oven called the All American Sun Oven that has a 20% larger cooking area and new wind resistance features. Interestingly, 42% of the Sun Ovens sold worldwide are sold in the state of Utah, USA. Munsen believes 70% of the ovens are being kept on shelves with emergency food supplies, the rest are used on a regular basis. The owners appreciate the versatility of the cooker, with the added benefit of helping to lower household kitchen temperatures during hot summer months. When Munsen was recently demonstrating in the Sun Oven in Afghanistan to a group of local women, he was told the cooker could not provide the smoky favor desired in their flatbread, known as naan. Paul's wife suggested adding a few drops of liquid smoke to the batter. A recent delivery of ovens was accompanied by a 55-gallon drum of liquid smoke. The liquid smoke offers some advantages over smoky fires. Munsen says women cooking over fires can inhale as much smoke as they’d get from smoking three packs of cigarettes a day, and children are more likely to contract acute lower respiratory and eye infections. Read more...
Solar panel cookers headed to Afghanistan use recycled coffee bags for reflective material - The solar cookers are distributed by Trust in Education located in Kabul, Afghanistan. They are a CooKit variation, and are being produced at a box manufacturing company in San Leandro, California, USA. The reflective material used for the solar panel cookers comes from Mylar coffee bean bags, recycled from Peet’s Coffee & Tea headquartered in Berkeley, California. They are cut open and cleaned by adults with developmental disabilities from Futures Explored in Lafayette, California. With the reflective interior surface facing out, the bags are then stapled to the cooker panels by Afghan workers. So far, 2,000 cookers have been delivered to Afghanistan, and over 20,000 bags have been collected from Peet’s (keeping many Mylar bags out of the landfill). The new cookers are working very well, and are appreciated.
The solar powered food cart business is flourishing in northern Argentina - With help from Fundación EcoAndina and WISIONS Initiative, there has been a successful launch of solar powered food carts in northern Argentina. During the celebrations of Carnival of Puna, which spans almost all of February, the intrepid promoters of the sun's energy walked a few new solar kiosks through the streets in Tilcara, Humahuaca, La Quiaca, Purmamarca and Uquía, tourist sites the northern province of Jujuy. Each Kiosco SOLAR consists of a wheeled trolley, waterproof roof, and a parabolic solar cooker. "People are incredulous and astonished when the cart is in operation," says Marta Rojas, responsible for opening a kiosk this month in Tilcara. As a safety concern, there has been a need to begin to replace traditional food carts, where typically food is cooked directly over gas canisters or open fires.
Survey participants are being recruited to document solar cooking use in the USA - Natalia Blackburn of Blackburn Engineering is conducting a survey to begin to determine how solar cooking usage may be able to reduce traditional consumer energy demand in the USA. While individual savings may be small, when the big picture is considered, Natalia believes that wide use of solar cookers can add up to substantial savings for utilities. The objective of this study is to develop a set of protocols to measure energy savings and dollar savings attributable to the use of solar cookers in U.S. residential households. The survey will be conducted with a fifteen-minute phone interview, or the group of twenty-five questions can be answered by email. Respondents will be contacted via email to set up an interview. If you are a resident of the USA and have been solar cooking for at least eighteen months, consider participating in this pioneering effort by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Natalia hopes to complete data collection by the end of March, 2013. More information...
The March 2013 issue of Solar Cooker Review is now available online
SCI seeks an experienced solar cook to help with Hurricane Sandy relief - Solar Cookers International is looking for a teacher in New York or New Jersey, USA, whose students and families were affected by Hurricane Sandy to lead a solar cooking workshop. SCI will provide basic resources and materials for a classroom of students to learn how to solar cook to help their families’ recovery efforts this spring and summer. For more information, please contact Julie Greene, Executive Director, at email@example.com or (916) 455-4499.
EVENT: March 18-22, 2013: (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is sponsoring the Clean Cooking Forum 2013, to be held in Cambodia. As with the five Biennial Partnership for Clean Indoor Air Forums, this will be an excellent opportunity for the household energy community to come together and share what is working around the world, what is causing it to work, and what we can do more of, better, or differently. This will an important event for solar cooking promoters to attend, share information, and show unity in a common mission. Julie Greene, the Executive Director of Solar Cookers International, will be attending and acting as representative for the Solar Cookers World Network. She has offered to any Network member wishing to address a particular concern, but unable to attend, to please contact her to pass along a discussion topic. Registration information... See other events.
The Solar Food Processing Network meets to discuss international standards - The Solar Food Processing Network (SFPN) held a regional workshop in January 2013 at the Muni Seva Ashram in Goraj, Vadodara, Gujarat, India. This gathering was a follow-up to the 2009 AFPN conference held in Indore, India in 2010. Workshop participants heard from food marketing and technology experts. Conference organizers, Deepak Gadhia and Rolf Behringer held discussions on local and international marketing, village industries, packaging, policy interventions, R&D, and effective monitoring and evaluation of projects. Attendees discussed the formation of an international solar food standard and shared their own practical experiences using solar technology for food processing. Visit the Solar Food Processing Network to see a muscial video of the event and videos of solar food processing projects in Burkina Faso.
The durable HotPot solar panel cooker has worked well in MexicoSustainable Rural Life is the new face of the HotPot Initiative that was launched by the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature in 2003. Delivering HotPot solar cookers and training communities how to use them has served as an effective introduction to clean cooking, and has provided an alternative to burning fuelwood in indigenous communities around the country. Approximately 20,000 HotPots have been distributed throughout sixteen states in Mexico. Last year, 464 were purchased by MFCN and delivered by local partners, and 445 fuel-efficient woodstoves of various types were also delivered between March and September. At SRL they believe that using the HotPot, together with fuel-efficient cookstoves, is the best option to improve cooking habits in Mexico. Read more at Sustainable Rural Life: Update 2012.
United Nations partners with the Rockefeller Foundation to showcase women’s role in solving climate change - In September 2012, the UN announced that the Rockefeller Foundation had awarded a grant to the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat to launch, Momentum for Change: Women for Results, an initiative to inform governments, the media and the public about “the role of women in solving climate change”. According to the announcement: “The use of efficient energy systems at the household level (e.g. solar cooking stoves and ovens) can reduce emissions and harness the potential of women as actors in the overall solution to climate change.” The mention of solar cookers in the Rockefeller Initiative may help to raise the profile of and attract additional funding for existing and future solar cooking projects. Applications will be accepted beginning March 8, 2013, International Women’s Day. Read more about the program and how to qualify...
World's largest solar cooking class takes place in India - On January 19, 2013, middle school students gathered on the grounds of JES College in Jalna, India to be trained in the use of a simple solar panel cooker. After a quick breakfast, and guidance from 205 trainers, a record-breaking 2,044 students each assembled his or her own solar cooker and placed prepared ingredients inside to cook. After speaker presentations, the students were able to enjoy the lunch they had cooked themselves. This event, sponsored by Simplified Technology for Life, demonstrates that India is quite serious about introducing solar cooking to young students.
This simple solar cooker cooks well left unattended, providing time for other activities - The accompanying video was made in 2009 by Pat McArdle and Karyn Ellis at the Touloum Refugee Camp in eastern Chad, and features the CooKit solar cooker. It shows how the traditional cornmeal porridge is well-suited to the slow even baking provided by the solar panel cooker. The cooking food does not require the constant stirring of cooking over an open fire, allowing the women to spend time in the shade pursuing business opportunities, talking with friends, or completing other tasks.
Solar Circle uses barter system to distribute 3000 solar cookers in Tanzania - The NGO Solar Circle has learned many things from their solar cooking program in Masasi, southern Tanzania. People will use solar cookers if they are efficient and affordable, which is often a problem for subsistence farmers who are most in need of the cookers even when the cookers are heavily subsidized. However, they have also learned that people will work hard to earn a solar cooker. The group has created a bartering system with community leaders. The community chooses a service project and the beneficiaries organize and oversee the effort. Participants earn an solar oven for their involvement. So far, the program has distributed more than 3000 solar ovens, and built 40 houses for people who are sick, elderly, widowed, or disabled. Because the community chooses the project and beneficiary, there’s an eagerness to work together. Surrounding villages have heard of the cookers and the program, so spreading the word has been easy. They cannot keep up with demand. The barter program relies on external help with finances, but community service represents the same effort that of money earned in outside employment. Solar Circle values that effort, and raises what money it can from friends to expand the program. This project is included among Most significant solar cooking projects.
Large-scale use of solar cookers in northwestern China shows promise - Solar Household Energy has tracked the Chinese government's efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the region, because in rural China the predominant fuel for cooking and heating is usually coal. The government has utilized the carbon credit trading program of the Clean Development Mechanism to encourage investors to become involved, and results have proven to support a profitable business model. At this point, it is estimated over two million people are benefiting from receiving and using 500,000 parabolic solar cookers. The thermal efficiency of the solar cookers averages 65% compared with 12.3% for traditional unimproved coal fires. It is estimated the solar cooker use has reduced emissions equivalent to taking 200,000 automobiles off the road. Manufactured at a unit cost of $44USD, the cookers are locally manufactured, require no externally sourced parts, and components are recyclable. For those who perceive solar cooking as happening only at a village level, this report confirms that solar cooking continues to grow as a valuable resource to significantly help reduce global carbon emissions. Read more details of the report at Solar Cooking in China: A CDM Project. This project is included among Most significant solar cooking projects.
Solar cooking promoter adds photovoltaic cells to a solar box cooker - The Electro Solar Cooker is being produced by the Association pour le Développement de l'Energie Solaire (ADES), a Swiss nonprofit that promotes solar cooking in Madagascar. ADES recognized another solar energy opportunity that would work well with their solar cooking promotion. As long as the solar cooker is used for a few hours each day for cooking, why not build in strips of photovoltaic cells to create some electricity? The power is stored in batteries attached under the cooker. Fully charged, the unit can power 12 volt lights or a radio for a few days and recharge cellphones. The multiple functions may compliment and encourage the use of this solar appliance.