September 2012: The Swedish Church and the aid agency Lutheran World Federation (LWF) are launching Solvatten in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. The goal of the project is to reduce environmental degradation by enabling people to use alternative sources of energy in the camp and in the host community that surrounds it. Supply of fire wood has been a problem in Kakuma region since the camp was set up in 1992 but it has escalated in the past two years, despite that the refugees are not allowed to harvest firewood directly from the bushes. This is attributed to the continuous massive influx of people into the camp leading to the environmental degradation through the harvesting of sticks from the available vegetation for firewood. Firewood has become very expensive and the UNHCR struggles to purchase and supply fuel to the growing population of refugees in the camp. The Solvatten is a water pasteurization device.
Solar cooker project in Chad is in full swing - In the Farchana Refugee Camp, a team of ten volunteers, refugees themselves, are putting together 2350 cookers! The cookers help prevent conflict between the Sudanese population in the camps and the local Chadian community, who are both competing for scarce firewood. Women, who traditionally collect wood to cook with, face violence outside the camps. The solar cookers need only the sun to cook food, one thing Chad has in abundance! Read more...
New video shows Vietnam Solar Serve's extensive solar cooking projects - A team of three French students came to visit Vietnam Solar Serve's center. They had organized Global Universities Social Trip (GUST), a project that aims to raise students' awareness of social entrepreneurship in Asia. For six months they met many social entrepreneurs throughout Asia who worked on problems such as energy, communication, waste, water, and housing. They created videos that presented the entrepreneurs' projects, the social issues they wanted to solve, and the challenges they had to overcome. Click the image on the right to see a video that they made on their visit to our Solar Serve Center in Danang. For more information on the Gust Project, visit the: http://www.gustproject.com or visit their Vimeo Channel.
Solar cooking heads to The Discovery Center - Central Valley Solar Cookers, founded by Carl Peters, is one of the most successful solar cooking clubs in the USA. Located in Fresno, California, the group now has 111 members. They recently had their First Annual Solar Cooking Festival, which was a huge success. They now have enough money to buy materials to build a solar cooker for use at The Discovery Center, a free non-profit science education facility. The park is fully self-funded and situated on six acres. Carl thinks a panel type cooker would be the safest type. It would be a nice addition to ultimately see solar cookers in our parks instead of only charcoal and wood burning BBQs.
New video: The need for a more durable solar cooker for desert refugee camps
Students flood southern Mexico integrated cooking class - Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Fresno, California, led by Wilfred and Marie Pimentel, teamed up with the Rotary Club of Tapachula Centenario, Mexico, to host a five-day integrated cooking workshop in Tapachula. This is the tenth grant project completed in Mexico by the Rotary Club of Fresno. Although only twenty students were expected to attend, ninety-one arrived on opening day to participate—a clear indication of the desperate need for affordable fuel-saving cooking devices in this region. Local instructors and expert solar cooks from Torreon and Oaxaca led the workshop. Participants learned to build three types of rocket stoves: mud and chopped grass, five gallon tin can, and sixteen brick, which were used to make tortillas. Students cut out cardboard sheets and glued them to pieces of aluminum foil to make solar panel CooKits. A variety of meat, vegetable and egg dishes were prepared with the CooKits along with desserts like pineapple upside down cake. Students also learned how to use WAPI’s to pasteurize water with a CooKit. Finally, the instructors showed their ninety-one students how easy it is to make a retained heat cooker with a pillowcases and crumpled newspaper stuffed into a woven basket. Read more...
Alternative energy organization in Vietnam enthusiastically promotes solar cooking - Vietnam Solar Serve has provided a recent video tour of their production facility in Da Nang, Vietnam. The resourceful group has been adapting solar cooker designs from other countries and developing their own solar energy products since 2000. Looking at the larger alternative energy picture, they also promote photovoltaic panels made in Vietnam and are working on designs for water and wind power turbines. They manufacture a variety of parabolic and box solar cookers.
Solar cooking set to help preserve the Golden Temple in Punjab, India - To save the Golden Temple from the ill effects of pollution, the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) is developing a plan to prepare a daily meal of Langar dal with the help of a solar steam cooking system. PEDA is the governmental agency promoting renewable energy within Punjab, India. To prepare Langar dal for 50,000 to 60,000 devotees daily at the Golden Temple requires one ton (909 kg) of dal to be cooked. A recent study has shown cooking dal with the help of steam will save at least 25 LPG cylinders per day and also reduce the effects of air pollution on the Golden Temple. PEDA chairman Manjeet Singh said that PEDA would bear the entire project cost.
South Dakota, USA nonprofit has delivered thousands of solar cookers to Haiti - Haiti Solar Oven Partners passed a milestone this spring by delivering another 1000 solar cookers as part of the relief effort resulting from the 2010 earthquake. This brings the total number of cookers they have taken to Haiti to over 5000. They had begun having solar cooking workshops in the country before the earthquake and have since stepped up their efforts. Currently, they are conducting an evaluation of their Haiti projects.
Global conservation gathering is approached with the solar cooking option - The IUCN World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest conservation event. Held every four years, the Congress aims to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development. It will take place from September 6-15, 2012 in Jeju, Republic of Korea. Leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and social organizations will discuss, debate and decide solutions for the world’s most pressing environment and development issues. The upcoming Congress has been approached by Solar Household Energy to present the case for solar cooking. Read more of their proposal.
Spanish cooperative finds common ground promoting solar cooking - Sol Solidari was formed in 2008 by environmental and sanitation practitioners in Spain wanting to combine their expertise to help primarily rural countries in Africa. Most of their activity has centered on the promotion of solar cooking. Whenever is possible, the cookers are locally manufactured, and workshops on their use are carried out with the help of local leaders. Initially the cookers are distributed for free to create better exposure among the villagers. In the second phase, the solar cookers are sold, but mostly subsidized by Sol Solidari. Until now, the projects have taken place in Ethiopia and Mali, but future plans include Cameroon and South Africa.
The Sun2Cook is a simple solar panel cooker - The Sun2Cook, was designed by Heinz-Joachim (Jo) Muller. The solar panel cooker takes shape from a single rectangular sheet of polypropylene sheet (core flute). With a few cuts and simple folds it is ready to cook. The steep back of the cooker makes it a good choice to take advantage of morning and late-day sunshine.
The versatile All Seasons Solar Cooker cooks year-round - The All Season Solar Cooker is featured this month as a solar panel cooker whose key feature is its adjustable, coordinated reflector array. The advantage of the ASSC is that it can efficiently capture the earliest morning sun, to begin cooking far earlier, and later, in the day than most other designs. The cooking pot maintains a level position regardless of cooker orientation. It also folds into a flat package that is easy to transport and ship. Visit the cooker article for plans that can be downloaded for free from designer Jim La Joie. SCI tests showed that bread could be baked easily in Seattle (47° N latitude) on February 3rd.
Spanish solar cooking promoter offers to donate cookers to other groups - ACCESO director, René Bijloo, has made the generous offer to donate up to thirty AlSol 1.4parabolic solar cookers to any non-profit humanitarian project providing solar energy options for rural areas around the world. Contact René Bijloo with detailed information about your program.
Private equity firm invests over $11 million USD in Gadhia Solar - Private equity firm Zephyr Peacock has reportedly invested $11,000,000 USD in Mumbai-based Gadhia Solar in India.. The solar energy company provides energy solutions by using parabolic concentrated technology and has implemented some of the world’s largest solar thermal systems during the past two decades. Read more...
Featured solar panel cooker receives attention, and a suggestion - The Copenhagen Solar Cooker Light was featured here this past November, and Teong Tan, an active participant in the Network, has suggested an alternate plate base design, which will shorten the assembly time and not require any bolts. His design for the base uses two sandwiched pieces of cardboard sewn together, creating sleeves for the reflector corners to slip into. Alternate Base Plate for the Copenhagen Solar Cooker Light
Indian Government budgets six hundred million dollars for solar cooking! - Ajay Chandak of Prince India reports that in the Indian government's latest five year plan, 30 billion INR (approx. $600 million USD) is budgeted for solar cooking in 500,000 schools across India. This will not only help in saving the environment, but it will expose millions of school children to solar cooking and build the confidence that these systems work. For more information on solar cooking in India,
Solar Cooking NV and Sol Suffit ship 630 solar cookers to Senegal - The project is a joint venture between Solar Cooking NV in the Netherlands, and Sol Suffit, a long time promoter of solar cooking in Senegal. The SolarCooker Eco3 cookers will be introduced in Dakar and in eight villages next to Djoudj National Park. Local volunteers participated in workshops, and will be training others in the surrounding villages. Trainees were also made familiar with the method of heat retention cooking. They found it quite easy to make good quality hay baskets with inexpensive baskets(locally made) and empty rice bags filled with dry hay.
A simple panel cooker makes advances in design - The Sun-Funnel cooker, designed by Teong Tan, is similar to the Fun-Panel cooker, but with a different panel fold. The intent is to have a panel cooker that will be strong enough to support a cooking pot when the cooker is tipped back for better orientation to the sun. It also uses a stick placed through the cooker base to allow the pot to remain level while cooking.
Small, compact, and inexpensive solar panel cooker - The Copenhagen Solar Cooker Light is featured as an example of a nicely conceived solar panel cooker. It is flexible in it's design, as well as in the number of ways it can be configured. The components include a flat base plate, which flexible reflective panels are bolted to. Then using simple clamps, the cooker can be configured with a low open front and high back, or with more vertical sides for cooking when the sun is directly overhead. The designer, Sharon Clausson, states that the curved shape of the cooker is more stable than typical panel cookers in windy conditions.
Patent landscape report on solar cooking - The World Intellectual Property Organization commissioned an extensive report on the state of solar cooking, prepared by Scope e-Knowledge Center Private Limited based in India. The report validates the viability of solar cooking, a technology well-suited for a growing portion of the world's population. It also provides a number of examples of various designs that have applied for patents. Read the report.
Celebrity chef José Andrés makes an impassioned plea for improved cookstoves and solar cookers to benefit the world's poor.
TED Talks on solar cooking - Louise Meyer was joined by José Andrés and Marcela Valladolid for a TEDx WashingtonCircle presentation titled Food & Communication: Recipes for Development. Louise Meyer is a founding director of Solar Household Energy, and a tireless and inspirational advocate of solar cooking technology. She has taught solar cooking in the refugee camps of East Africa and in villages from Zimbabwe to Mexico. José Andrés is an award-winning chef and restauranteur, who has made a substantial commitment of his time and resources to provide access to solar cooking in Haiti. The event was open to the public, and took place at the International Food Policy Research institute. You can watch the on-demand broadcast here.
Water pasteurization system changes community health in Kenyan village - Solvatten is a compact, portable solar water pasteurization appliance about the size of a small suitcase. A recent follow-up study of new users in the Bungoma district in western Kenya showed a marked improvement in family health and student attendance. Before Solvatten use, 67% of the children in the families had irregular attendance at school as a result of being sick, often with waterborne diseases. After purchasing Solvatten the overall attendance of children at school has increased by an average of 87 percent, as stated by the parents. Before using the system the typical family had someone ill three to four times per month, and that has changed to only .03 times per month. Since waterborne diseases have all but disappeared, people are saving money on medicines and medical services.