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.
Solar cooking has created a business opportunity for a group of women in Zambia - The Solar Health and Education Project (SHEP) has initiated a project at a community-based nursery school in Livingstone, Zambia for unschooled mothers. Previously, their only source of income had been illegally making charcoal. During the course of the program, they learned how to make and use the CooKit solar cooker as an income generating activity. Thier next step was to create a registered group called Solar Ventures (SV). They have been holding SHEP-funded workshops at clinics, schools, agricultural shows (where they won 1st place for the most interesting booth in 2011), and government-sponsored functions on energy and conservation. The group was also invited to Lusaka to run a three-day workshop for a UK based nonprofit organization. Without question, their lives are different now since their introduction to solar cooking.
New study estimates four million deaths globally from household cooking smoke occur 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 cooking related air quality findings from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves press release.
A successful Integrated Cooking project cooking in Ségou, Mali - In 2009, KoZon, a Dutch NGO promoting solar cooking in the Sahel, and AFIMA, a Malian NGO promoting the development of rural women, began a joint project in Ségou, a region of Mali where solar cookers had not been introduced. In five villages (Dioro, Babougou, Koila Bamanan, Kominé, Soké), they trained four groups of 25 women (selected by the village chiefs) in the practice of Integrated Cooking. They received kits containing: two CooKits, to cook meals when the sun shines; a fuel-efficient woodstove, for use when there’s no sun; and a heat-retention cooker to allow even more food to be cooked in the first two. In addition to a short hands-on training workshop, the project ensured that all participants were visited several times after the course to solve problems, and provide extra tips, and encouragement. In the final evaluation, in May 2012, external experts established that more than 80% of the participants--in some villages nearly 100%--used these technologies daily. As intended, they are now saving some 1,800 tons of fuel wood per year. The evaluators also found that many women appreciate having more free time each day, since they do not have to tend a fire when solar cooking or using the heat-retention cooker. They use their time for other activities including running small businesses. Buying less firewood also saves them a lot of money. It’s no surprise that the evaluators spoke of integrated cooking as a great means of relieving poverty! This project is included among Most significant solar cooking projects.
One Earth Designs introduces their new parabolic solar cooker - Working with rural communities in western China, One Earth Designs (OED), a Beijing/Hong Kong-based company, founded by Americans Catlin Powers and Scot Frank, has developed the SolSource S1, a portable parabolic solar cooker designed for use by nomadic communities. The S1 can boil a liter of water in ten minutes. Durable and weather resistant materials ensure a longer lifespan. It has a total weight of 18 kilos including a sturdy base design capable of withstanding the high winds typically encountered in the Himalayas. OED’s other solar cooker design, the SolSource S2 will be the world's first temperature adjustable solar cooker with six discrete settings up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. 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.
Started twelve years ago, this Chilean solar restaurant has become a desired tourist destination - The Delicias del Sol restaurant, known for serving excellent food, has become a tourist destination for the village of Villaseca, Chile. Begun in 2000 with an initial seating capacity of sixteen, the solar restaurant now seats 120. The dry central valley area receives over 300 days of sunshine a year, and like similar areas, traditional fuel sources are becoming ever more scarce and expensive. The tourists enjoy viewing the solar kitchen at work. Find out about many other solar restaurants and bakeries here.
Alternative energy funding groups offer options for technology promoters - The International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA) is welcoming online applications with project summaries for concessional loans worth USD 50 million from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) to facilitate renewable energy projects in developing countries, in the first of seven funding cycles totalling USD 350 million. Renewable energy projects must be government-led or government-guaranteed. Online applications close on 12 January 2013, 17:00 (Abu Dhabi local time). More information... The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is also offering funding possibilities for new businesses. The Alliance’s Spark Fund (Fund) launches its first round of funding with this Request for Proposal (RFP) as part of the strategy to strengthen supply and enhance demand in the cookstove and fuels sector through innovation and tailored entrepreneurial capacity development. Unfortunately the final submission date is January 10, 2013. More information...
Jewish World Watch, originator of the Solar Cooker Project for Sudanese refugees, reviews their current programs at several of the refugee camps in Chad – As a result of a joint security force between Chad and Sudan, violence against women has declined some since the project began seven years ago. Cord, their partner at the Farchana refugee camp, sees solar cooking as a way to keep girls in school, and not spending hours finding fuelwood for cooking. For others, the project has meant help for the environment and the air quality conditions for women previously using open fires. When the Jewish World Watch contingent first visited the camps many years ago, the refugees had just arrived and the encampment was meant to be temporary. The hope and expectation was that within a few months or a couple of years at most; they would return to their homes. But now, seven years later, it is clear that returning to Darfur is not a reality and the camps are turning into permanent settlements. As a result, the programs for the refugees must begin to move away from survival resources and begin to address ways of achieving self-sufficiency and permanence. In other words, helping to create a life, not an existence. Future larger scale solutions will be needed to address and benefit the surrounding communities, as well as the refugee camps, to help with the integration of the Sudanese residents. Read more...
War weary citizens in Iraq to receive solar cookers - During a recent visit to villages in the Najaf-Karbala region of Iraq, a trustee of the Lady Fatemah Trust (LFT) found that villagers were using two methods for cooking: The majority of families, living in abject poverty, use open fuelwood fires for cooking, heating and lighting, while a slightly more affluent minority uses appliances fueled by kerosene. In the first phase of this project, LFT intends to provide solar cookers to families living in the villages surrounding Karbala Barakat al-Zahra district, Al-Mahdiyeh Village One and Two, the al-Nedhal and al-Wala’ neighborhoods, as well as to families living on isolated desert farms. About 7000 solar panel cookers will be needed to provide every family in the region with a cooker. The cookers to be used are an improved version of the Cookit solar cooker made from plastic fluteboard and manufactured by Matthew Rollins. Total project cost will amount to £105,000.00. More information...