Solar Cooking

What encourages me on seeing this type of report and a similar one earlier which may be the same is that we are trying to produce new tools to do old tasks in better ways. This is not a minor consideration. It means that real awareness is been woken and people are open to new ways.

It is never easy. In this case the new device needs high sunlight. It may end up been used to simply heat a lot of water and to make the daily stew. That is good enough since the biggest energy user is just that.

Charcoal and wood are costing the users in the tropics and diverting a big chunk of the need with a cheap capital good such as this is important to people there.

One think little understood is that the world of the traditional subsistence farmer or peasant is presently passing through a fiscal and material revolution everywhere in the world. This is very easy to discount, but simple devices such as this and the advent of microfinance is reaching these people everywhere. The results are hardly instant but they are nonetheless tangible and cumulative.

If one takes a generational viewpoint, then the change is immense everywhere.

Solar-Powered Cooking

Plexiglass helps trap the suns rays and provides a means to cook without fossil fuels or wood
Katherine Harmon

One little solar cooker aims to take a big bite out of
climate change. The Kyoto Box, designed by Norwegian entrepreneur Jon Bøhmer, is intended as an alternative for millions of people who burn wood to cook food and boil water. Using energy from the sun can reduce carbon emissions as well as deforestation in countries such as Kenya, where Bøhmer lives and runs his company, Kyoto Energy.

Bøhmer experimented with the concept for a decade, inspired by the simplicity of a solar device invented in 1767 by Swiss physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure. The cooker, which consists of two boxes nestled inside each other and topped with Plexiglas to trap the sun’s rays, has evolved from a homemade cardboard contraption to a $6 plastic version that went into mass production this spring.

Environmental benefits aside, the Kyoto Box holds promise for human health, too, by allowing people to effectively boil unsafe drinking water and to avoid harmful smoke inhalation from toiling over sooty wood stoves. Bøhmer is also investigating whether the cookers could eventually pay for themselves or even become a source of income for families, if Kyoto Energy can qualify their use as a source of carbon-offset credits. “As the world gets more and more technically complex,” Bøhmer says, “there is a certain relief about something so basic and direct.”

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