The implementation of technologies for food processing and conservation through solar energy can help to reduce poverty, improve local economic opportunities and health conditions, and reduce environmental damage. In particular in those countries with a high solar radiation potential proper solar technologies can assist sustainable development in small rural communities. However, the full potential still needs to be explored.
Solar Food Processing and Conservation - a project co-ordinated by the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) - intends to establish a global network of interested parties (NGO’s, politicians, farmers, and experts), that will aim to gather, further develop and promote efficient methods of solar food processing and conservation.
Project website: http://www.solarfood.org
The initiative primarily targets developing countries with a high solar radiation potential, where there is a need for unique and sustainable development assistance and concepts in the area of solar food processing and conservation. It aim is to extend the use of, and to develop, efficient methods in the following:
- Conservation of fruits and vegetables
- Drying crops
- Roasting different kind of nuts and grains
- Pasteurising juice, fruits and vegetables
- Baking bread and cake.
The potential impact of solar food processing and conservation includes:
- Improvement in the quality of food (hygiene / storage)
- Demonstrating environmental benefits, providing an alternative to using local natural resources (such as wood) and reducing harmful emissions (in particular CO2 emissions)
- Involvement of local personnel and resources in production processes
- Creation of local income and employment opportunities at SMEs
- Supporting the development of new markets and encouragement of competition, with the integration of sustainable technology within the food sector.
The project is divided into four phases:
Phase I (2005/2006):
- Setting up an international network.
- Providing training and information.
- Increasing awareness in the target countries.
- Showing examples and ideas of solar food processing.
Phase II (2007/2008): Implementation and evaluation of solar food processing activities:
- Purchase of fresh food products
- Improvement of solar food process
- Marketing (local, national, international)
Phase III (2008/2009):
Lessons learned: International evaluation workshop / seminar
Phase IV (2009):
Solar Food Label: Enhancing international marketing and quality control
There is a need to identify the most effective solar processing products in terms of quality and cost effectiveness. ISES aims to bring together a motivated network of experts (engineers, food scientists, farmers and SMEs in the food and RE industries) who are interested in further developing existing technology, increasing the value, and exploring useful prospects to penetrate the food market. Sustainable energy for industry has to be more widely considered, also at a local scale where it has tremendous potential. An important aspect is to increase awareness among producers and users on the opportunities in using clean energy when producing or conserving food.
We invite interested persons, organisations and companies to join this network to share information and to develop the existing activities and standards.