[Editor's note: "News you send" is compiled by Tom Sponheim, Solar Cookers International's information exchange specialist. E-mail your news items to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Kevin Porter, Solar Cookers International, 1919 21st Street #101, Sacramento, California 95811-6827, USA. We want to hear from you — especially if your program is growing or if your work has not been featured in the Solar Cooker Review before. Please include your contact information. Submissions are subject to editing if printed.]
The Organization for Rural Education Simplicity (ORES) has been carrying out solar cooker research for several months. After experimenting with parabolic cookers, which they found difficult to keep focused on the sun as it moves, they chose to develop a solar box cooker that can cook for five people. The box can be closed to keep water warm overnight. Glass and mirrors are the only cooker materials that are not produced locally. Production cost is about $20 per cooker. Although ORES is based in Bamenda, in the western part of Cameroon, ORES hopes to promote the cookers in northern Cameroon where the Sahara Desert is encroaching and where the sun shines nine months per year. Contact: Julius Shenga Tcheshie, ORES, P.O. Box 5165, Bamenda, Cameroon. Tel: 237-752-5472, e-mail: email@example.com, Web: www.geocities.com/orescameroon
Solar Cooking Foundation the Netherlands (SCN) has teamed up with Partnership for Integrated Sustainable Development Association (PISDA), a local non-governmental organization, to introduce solar cooking in four rural villages around Debre Zeit. PISDA has worked with female heads of households on a number of projects, such as tree planting, fuel-efficient wood stoves, and savings and credit associations. SCN’s Clara Thomas, along with PISDA’s Ato Guillilat, left early mornings on a two-wheeled horse wagon to visit the four rural villages. They first introduced solar cookers to village elders, and then spent a week training a group of solar cooking instructors. A year-long initial program was agreed upon to ensure continued follow up in the form of monthly collective solar cooking meetings to share experiences and advice. The project will likely expand next year. A local solar fabricator in Addis Ababa — Bereket Solar — will produce CooKit solar cookers by hand for the project. Towards the end of 2007 he will transfer his experience and knowledge to the women in rural areas so that they can make their own CooKits. Injera, a pancake-like bread, is a local staple that cannot be cooked with simple solar cookers. (It requires a 60-centimeter diameter pan and baking temperature of at least 220°C.) A research program is underway to find a solar method for baking injera. The present cooking culture does not permit introducing collective solar injera baking through a large bakery or otherwise. In the meantime, injera will continue to be baked three times per week on a fuel-efficient wood stove. Contact: Clara Thomas or Arnold Leufkens, Solar Cooking Foundation the Netherlands, Prof. van Reeslaan 11, 1261 CS Blaricum, Netherlands. Tel: +31 (0)35 5312018, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.solarcooking.nl
Camily Wedende, of Eldoret, Kenya, received a grant from Spirit in Action in support of his solar cooker shop. Wedende builds and sells durable plywood solar box cookers, and stocks various solar cooking supplies such as pots and instruction manuals in his shop. He also conducts solar cooking demonstrations and gives out samples. Contact: Camily Wedende, P.O. 2986, Eldoret, Kenya. E-mail: email@example.com; Spirit in Action, P.O. Box 12482, San Francisco, California 94112-0482, USA. Tel: (415) 452-9245, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: http://godsspiritinaction.org
Solar cooking promoter Joseph Odey has formed the company Joe – Kate Solar Energy Technology (JOKSET) Nig. Ltd. Odey became interested in solar cooking in 2000. He learned informally about solar cooking from SCI’s literature, and has since attended various seminars and conferences. JOKSET’s activities include lectures on the uses of solar energy to conserve the environment, seminars on renewable energy, solar cooking workshops for communities, and solar cooker construction training. Odey says that JOKSET has the capacity to produce affordable solar cookers in large quantities, and is seeking support for expansion. Contact: Joseph A. Odey, Joe – Kate Solar Energy Technology (JOKSET) Nig. Ltd., P.O. Box 300, New Bussa, Niger State, Nigeria. Tel: +234 - 8055529125, e-mail: email@example.com
SunFire Solutions, a solar cooker promotion and development agency based in Johannesburg, teamed up with Umgungundlovu District Municipality in June 2006 to install 20 of its “SunFire 14” parabolic solar cookers in Masihambisane as part of an off-grid electrification pilot project. Masihambisane is a small village situated in a Tribal Authority area 80 kilometers north of Pietermaritzburg, beyond the sugar cane plantations. The community was selected because of its remoteness and suitability for off-grid electrification. According to SunFire representative Crosby Menzies, the response was amazing. “A marked and definite improvement in living standards was immediately noticed,” he said. “The overall … response from families included in this project was a unanimous vote of confidence, and thanks for the opportunity to use solar cookers.” In December 2006 SunFire returned to install 60 more solar cookers. A visit in early 2007 confirmed the cookers’ usefulness to the community, and provided opportunities for the new solar cooks to get additional training and have questions answered. One woman cooked her family’s entire Christmas meal on her new SunFire 14 and was very proud of not needing to light a fire on Christmas day, as this meant not needing to wash the smell of smoke from her family’s clothes. Early adopters of the solar cookers were predominantly from the younger generation, ages 14-24. Since they do much of the firewood collecting, they immediately recognized the benefits of cookers powered only by the sun. SunFire hopes this project will lead to further support from the South African government, as is the case in a few other countries like India and China. SunFire produces parabolic solar cookers in Johannesburg, and has recently founded a non-governmental organization called Solar Cookers For Africa to help poor African families throughout southern Africa gain access to solar cooker technology. Contact: Crosby Menzies, SunFire Solutions. Tel: +27 (0) 82 954 0144 or +27 (0) 11 624 2432, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.sunfire.co.za
ASIA AND OCEANIA
A report written by Australian scientist Xuemei Bai, and published in the Worldwatch Institute’s “State of the World 2007,” describes the city of Rizhao as a “solar-powered city.” Rizhao — which literally means “city of sunshine” — is a coastal city with nearly three million residents. Six thousand households have solar cooking facilities, but the most prevalent technology is solar water heaters. “A combination of regulations and public education spurred the broad adoption of solar heaters,” says Bai. “The city mandates all new buildings to incorporate solar panels. To raise awareness, the city held open seminars and ran public advertising on television.” An astounding 99% of central city households now have solar water heaters, as do 30% of suburban households. Given that Rizhao is not particularly wealthy, city officials have targeted their limited funds. Instead of subsidizing end users, as is often done, the government provides funding to the solar water heater industry to conduct research and development, resulting in technological breakthroughs that increase efficiency and lower prices. Standard solar water heaters now cost about the same as electric ones, and save the consumers about $120 per year over the 15-year lifespan. Rizhao is consistently ranked among the lowest polluting cities in China.
Professor Ajay Chandak, of Promoters and Researchers in Non-Conventional Energy (PRINCE), reports completion of an ambitious project to manufacture, transport, install and commission over 300 large parabolic solar cookers at tribal schools in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The project was coordinated by Chandak, with manufacturing by PRINCE trainees M/s Essential Equipments and three contractual manufacturers. Twenty-five trained teams carried out installation and testing of the cookers. The entire process took just 45 days, and resulted in 100 schools being equipped. The “community solar cookers,” as Chandak refers to them, are 2.3 meters in diameter and powerful enough for a 22-liter pressure cooker. Each cooker cost around Rs. 26,000 ($650) and comes with a large pressure cooker and other accessories. Contact: Professor Ajay Chandak, Promoters and Researchers In Non-Conventional Energy (PRINCE), Jankibai Trust, Shamgiri, Agra Road, Deopur, Dhule - 424 005, India. Tel: +91-9823033344, e-mail: email@example.com, Web: www.princeindia.org
Jakarta, Indonesia officials plan to reduce kerosene consumption by distributing 30,000 parabolic solar cookers as part of a Clean Development Mechanism project, according to a recent Jakarta Post article by Adianto P. Simamora. The pilot phase of the project will take place in Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands) regency, where sunshine is plentiful. As reported in the article, “Jakarta consumes about 2.7 million liters of kerosene a day. A family using one liter of kerosene per day emits two tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year.” Kerosene is available to consumers at a state-subsidized price of Rp. 2,000 per liter (about $0.22). “The solar cookers will be provided for free by German company EnerXi GMbh to support the city’s attempts to take part in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project,” writes Simamora. Through CDM projects, developing countries can earn Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) based on the resulting amount of CO2 reduction. (One CER is equivalent to one ton of CO2.) To help meet Kyoto Protocol targets, developed countries can then purchase CERs from developing countries. According to the article, the price of one CER is between $5-10. The article is available on the Jakarta Post Web site at http://www.thejakartapost.com/yesterdaydetail.asp?fileid=20070523.C04
NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE
Netherlands / Bolivia / Niger
At the 2006 International Solar Cookers Conference in Spain, Wietske Jongbloed of the KoZon Foundation learned a useful trick from Ruth and David Whitfield: a heat-retention cooker can be made from empty rice bags. The Whitfields advised that two large rice bags, with insulation such as wool or cotton in between, make a sack that will keep a pot of food at cooking temperatures long after it is removed from a heat source. KoZon introduced the idea in Tahoua, Niger, where cooking pots are typically very large — 12 to 16 liters. For these pots, four rice bags are needed to surround the pot, and a fifth bag stuffed with insulation covers the top. Of this five-bag system, Jongbloed says, “It is named Idadafoua and works marvelously.” Jongbloed writes that women in the Sahel cook meals for families of 10 to 12 or more people. The KoZon project in Tahoua teaches the use of three cooking devices — fuel-efficient wood stoves, heat-retention cookers, and solar CooKits. CooKits are used on sunny days for meat or fish sauces, eggs, sweet potatoes, and groundnuts, and for cakes that are sold by the slice to earn money. Contact: Wietske Jongbloed, Stichting KoZon, Hollandseweg 384, 6705 BE Wageningen, Netherlands. Tel: 31-317412370, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.kozon.org
Bill Bradley built and analyzed various panel-type solar cookers, including funnel shaped cookers and 12-sided Parvati cookers. He discovered that these and most other panel-type solar cookers primarily heat the top and sides of the cooking pot. This bothered Bradley because, as he notes, “The heat transfer mechanism from the top of the pot to the [food] usually is not very efficient.” Bradley discovered that parabolic solar cookers heat the bottom and sides of the pot well. However, he thought they were relatively hard to build and often heated unevenly. So he set out to build a panel-type solar cooker that heats the bottom and sides of the pot. Borrowing design features similar to those of other cookers, Bradley designed a device he calls the EarthBound cooker (EB). The EB consists of either a double-angle or a triple-angle cone, with the pot suspended towards the mouth of the cooker, similar to a parabolic cooker. This pot location allows sunlight to heat the bottom and sides of the pot. Bradley chose this design partially because it is relatively easy to build and does not have a point focus. EB cookers are given a model name based on their diameter and number of cones. For example, the EB-42T has a diameter of 42 inches (42) and is a triple-angle cone (T). The appropriate pot size is determined by dividing the cooker diameter by five for double-angle and seven for triple-angle. For example, the EB-30D reflects sunlight onto a six-inch diameter sphere when pointed directly at the sun. So the cooking pot should have a diameter of at least six inches, and be at least six inches tall. Contact: Bill Bradley, Earthbound Tech, 30 Birchland Avenue, Springfield, Massachusetts 01119, USA. E-mail: email@example.com, Web: www.earthboundtech.com
Rowena Gerber, director of the Abess Center for Environmental Studies at Miami Country Day School, reports that her students’ solar cooking activities during Earth Day in New York’s Central Park were quite successful. At 6:00 a.m., Paul Munsen, president of Sun Ovens International, set up one of his company’s giant Villager Sun Ovens® as a teaser to draw a crowd. ABC television broadcast solar cooking updates throughout the day, at various stages of the process. During one segment, the anchor man was served a solar-cooked breakfast of sausage, eggs and cinnamon rolls! As the day progressed, thousands of people filed by to taste the food and learn about solar cooking. Gerber’s students brought some of the solar cookers they had made from recycled materials, and cooked chicken, sausage, hotdogs, corn-on-the-cob, fondue, cookies, bread, and lots of other goodies. Gerber’s students collected donations throughout the day as part of an ongoing effort to raise funds to send a Villager Sun Oven® to Mekhe, Senegal, for a program run by Abdoulaye Toure. Contact: Rowena Gerber, Abess Center for Environmental Studies, Miami Country Day School, 601 NE 107th Street, Miami, Florida 33161, USA. Tel: 305-779-7272, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.miamicountryday.org/aces
Solar Cookers International (SCI) will undertake a two-year pilot project to increase water quality awareness and introduce the Portable Microbiology Laboratory and the Safe Water Package to communities in western Kenya. The effort will be led by SCI founder and board member Dr. Bob Metcalf, professor of Biological Sciences at California State University, Sacramento.
Solar water pasteurization
Because of acute cooking fuel shortages, boiling water is often impractical in locations where household water sources are heavily contaminated. (It takes approximately one kilogram of wood to boil one liter of water.) Yet, water must only be heated to 149°F (65°C) to be free from disease-causing microbes. This is called pasteurization. Metcalf’s research on solar water pasteurization has led to use of solar cookers as safe water tools. When used in conjunction with SCI’s Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI), simple solar cookers can safely pasteurize drinking water and reduce incidence of waterborne diseases, while saving precious cooking fuel. This safe water method has been integrated into SCI’s Sunny Solutions project in western Kenya and has reduced diarrhea among young children by about half. The Safe Water Package (SWP) consists of a CooKit solar cooker, a black pot, a WAPI, and a water storage container.
Most community leaders and consumers are unable to determine the safety of local water sources because traditional testing methods require expensive, sophisticated equipment only available in laboratories. Metcalf’s breakthroughs in water testing methods led to the development of the Portable Microbiology Laboratory (PML), a gallon-sized kit with materials for 25 water tests. Each PML contains Colilert® and Petrifilm™ tests for Escherichia coli contamination, sterile plastic pipettes, collection bags, and a battery-operated UV lamp for reading Colilert® tests. A unique aspect of the PML tests is that they demystify science and microbiology; they are easy to use in rural settings and do not require extensive education or scientific training.
Working with the Kenya Water Resources Management Authority and the Kenya Ministry of Health, SCI hopes to:
Major funding for the initiative comes from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, with in-kind support from 3M and IDEXX Laboratories.
by Kevin Porter, SCI Director of Education Resources
SCI’s Solar Cooking Archive (“Archive”) is an unparalleled on-line resource for solar cooking and solar water pasteurization information. It has grown tremendously over the past decade and now receives several thousand unique visitors each day. Though the amount of information in the Archive can be almost overwhelming, it is just the tip of the iceberg in a vast sea of solar cooking knowledge.
To better serve the solar cooking community, SCI has developed a companion site: the Solar Cooking Archive Wiki (“Wiki”), located at http://solarcooking.wikia.com. A wiki is a collaborative Web site editable by everyone. Wikipedia is a popular example. Whereas the Archive is limited by the number of people that can actually create and edit its content, the Wiki is free from such bottlenecks. If you use, promote, design, manufacture, or support solar cookers, then the Wiki is for you!
The organizational structure of the Wiki mirrors that of the Archive, with content divided into the following upper-level sections: directory, solar cooking basics, solar cooking in depth, teaching and promotion, and related technologies. Information about the Solar Cookers International Association (SCIA) is prominently located on the main page, along with a rotating featured article spotlight and a portal to Dr. Ashok Kundapur’s Compendium of Solar Cooker Designs.
Wiki pages currently exist for 89 countries, 148 organizations, and 183 individual promoters. If you promote solar cooking or solar water pasteurization, you may already have a page. If so, please help to update and improve it. If you don’t have a page, consider creating a page to share your information and activities with the world.
To edit content, click the “edit” tab at the top of a page. Enter the desired changes and click the “Show preview” button at the bottom of the page. Click the “Save page” button if everything is correct. To create a new wiki page, type in a name for the page in the “search” box in the left pane and click the “Go” button. If the page doesn’t yet exist, you will see a link to create the new page. (Please search through the page text matches first to see if any existing pages have similar content.)
It is possible to post anonymously on the Wiki, but we strongly encourage you to register and create a user name so that your contributions are acknowledged. Also, it is easier for site administrators to isolate vandals if legitimate posts are credited. For more information on account creation, and to view a simple tutorial on how to make edits and format content, visit www.wikia.com/wiki/Help:Tutorial.
“Watchlists” allow registered users to receive notification when changes are made to pages that are of interest. If you interested in CooKits and water pasteurization in Kenya, for example, you simply click the “watch” tab at the top of each of those three pages. When you click on “my watchlist” in the future you will see all the changes that have been made on those pages. You can also set an option in “my preferences” to receive an e-mail notification whenever changes are made.
Spanish- and French-language wikis have also been created, located at http://es.solarcooking.wikia.com and http://fr.solarcooking.wikia.com respectively. SCI is looking for volunteers to oversee these sites. If you are interested or have questions, contact Tom Sponheim by e-mail: email@example.com.
This wiki was inspired by requests to make the Archive more interactive. Use it to get and share ideas, to make contacts, to inspire others, and to be inspired. With your help, it will become one of the Internet’s best resources on solar cooker theory, design, promotion, and activity. The Wiki is, in essence, an on-line village where knowledge is freely shared and the dream of a solar-cooking world inches towards reality.
Allow me to share with you a few memorable events that have taken place in the past few months.
In early September, we welcomed two new staff members to the Solar Cookers International (SCI) team: Karyn Ellis, Director of International Program Development, and Michael Hayes, Resource Development Coordinator. Prior to coming to SCI, Karyn worked under a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contract at the U.S. Department of State. Before that, she was with the Foreign Service Institute, the American Red Cross, and the Peace Corps, where she volunteered in Burkina Faso. Michael Hayes brings experience from serving as: Director of Development Planning and Communications at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health; Communications Manager for International Medical Corps; and Director of Development and Communications with Leadership Public Schools in San Francisco. Both individuals strengthen SCI and offer a promise of increased support and expanded programs. Welcome, Karyn and Michael!
We are pleased to announce with great enthusiasm that the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund will provide a total of $220,000 over the next two years to implement, for the first time, an SCI program incorporating the Safe Water Package. (See “Kenya safe water project to include innovative testing, pasteurizing tools” in this issue.) The project will focus on water testing training for Nyanza and Western Provinces in Kenya, and will include water pasteurization with solar cookers. SCI’s partners in this endeavor are the Kenya Water Resources Management Authority and the Kenya Ministry of Health. Testing materials from both 3M and IDEXX Laboratories will be used in this effort. SCI board member Dr. Bob Metcalf and Karyn Ellis are currently in Kenya planning the next steps in this project with both partner agencies.
Two projects in which SCI has been involved are being evaluated this year. The first is the innovative Sunny Solutions project in Kenya, which expanded last year to include the communities of Kadibo and Kajiado. (See “Outreach efforts expanding in Kenya.”) Both quantitative and qualitative aspects of Sunny Solutions are being considered. The experience of Sunny Solutions, and contacts made, will be helpful in shaping the new safe water project, as well as a proposed resource center in Kisumu.
The second project being evaluated is the solar cooking effort in Iridimi refugee camp, Chad. This project is supported by donors to SCI and Jewish World Watch, under the guidance of Derk Rijks of KoZon Foundation. SCI Board member Gabriele Simbriger-Williams traveled to Iridimi in October as part of a 15-person evaluation team that included representatives of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Chad Ministry of Environment, CARE, and BCI, a local non-governmental organization providing training in the use of fuel-efficient stoves. (An audio interview with Gabriele recorded on her return along with a YouTube video are available online here.) Additional evaluators included Chadian National Committee for Assistance to Refugees (CNAR), Jewish World Watch, and Tchad Solare. While in Iridimi, Gabriele interviewed residents of 128 households. Gabriele’s findings will be reported in an upcoming issue of the Solar Cooker Review and on the Internet.
A transition is taking place within the SCI board of directors. We would like to express much appreciation for the following board members upon completing their terms of service: President Dick Cochran, who has shown outstanding leadership; John Collentine, who at one time also served as interim Executive Director, and Joyce Hightower, for her long and devoted service to SCI. We welcome James Moose and A.J. Lederman as new board members and look forward to working with them. The new officers for 2008 are as follows: Bob Metcalf, president; Louis Grivetti, vice president; Virginie Mitchem and Jack Blanks, co-treasurers; Patt Hull, returning as secretary; and Gabriele Simbriger-Williams, at-large member of the executive committee.
It is always good to hear from our supporters. Recently, Andrea Zojourner stopped by SCI headquarters — after a thousand mile motor trip — to meet the SCI staff. Because of Andrea’s generosity we are able to increase public awareness about SCI. On the day she visited, staff and volunteers were preparing a mailing. She jumped right in and helped with that critical activity. Thank you, Andrea!
Some of you may have noticed an increase in SCI media coverage recently. Through diverse media outlets like the San Francisco Chronicle (link to article) and the Phoenix Republic newspapers, National Public Radio, local televisions stations, and even U.S. government newsletters, the efforts of SCI are being shared thanks in large part to supporters like you. Your presentations in schools, churches, and public events also help tremendously.
One very positive experience that most of our staff had recently was to attend a presentation by Nobel Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai. We had the opportunity to give her a package of materials about the work of SCI in Kenya, and to ask her how we could work with her to spread solar cooking technology in Kenya and other African countries. She responded, “Solar is important as an alternative energy source. It would be wonderful if we could shift from wood to solar.” She noted one potential reason why solar cooking has yet to be widely adopted: “Fire is an important part of life in Kenya. Without electricity, people cook with fires in the evening. The fire provides light, which is important.” She also mentioned that “jiko” cook stoves use much less charcoal than open fires, but many people prefer the fire because it provides light. “Maybe we need to study this and see how we can change. Maybe we can get together and decrease fuel consumption. Eventually, we have to shift to other sources of energy (emphasis added).” We agree; please continue to spread the word.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about some of these developments, and we appreciate your support as SCI grows to meet ever-expanding needs.
Be well and enjoy the coming holiday season.
Patrick T. Widner
Last year, Solar Cookers International (SCI) expanded its Kenya projects to two new communities: Kadibo, on the outskirts of Kisumu City, and Kajiado, to the south near the Kenya-Tanzania border. With support from the Global Village Energy Partnership and generous SCI donors, outreach efforts in these communities are greatly expanding. Twenty local women have received training on how to make, use and sell solar CooKits. During the first year of the project, they conducted 69 public solar cooking demonstrations, 209 group demonstrations, and six radio broadcasts. The women have earned income from over 230 CooKits sold thus far. Adjacent communities have begun requesting demonstrations, including Kibos, Vihiga, Maseno, Ahero, Kano, Machakos, Makueni, Magadi, Ngong’, and Namanga. Requests for group demonstrations in should be directed to the nearest project supervisor. Contact: Eastern Kenya and northern Tanzania Stella Odaba Tel: 0723 274870; Western Kenya John Amayo Tel: 0733 756568
The Solar Cookers International Association (SCIA) is an advocacy network including 70 organizations and over 125 solar cooker leaders from 36 countries. It is affiliated with Solar Cookers International (SCI), a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the United Nations. SCIA members advocate locally and internationally for policies that assist the spread of solar cooking, pasteurizing, and food processing. Here are some updates on recent activities.
Advocacy The Advocacy action group will hold a planning meeting in New York on 1 December, 2007. The meeting will also be accessible over the Internet using Skype™ software.
SCIA Wiki page The new Solar Cooking Archive Wiki contains a dedicated SCIA page at http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Solar_Cookers_International_Association. (The page can alternatively be accessed by typing in “Solar Cookers International Association” in the search box on http://solarcooking.org after selecting the Wiki radio button.) From there, SCIA members can easily share information about activities, access discussion forums, contact leaders, etc. Comments are welcome.
International Conference Attendees of the 2006 International Solar Cookers Conference in Spain voted to meet again in 2010. Is your organization A) in a developing country, B) experienced in organizing conferences, and C) interested to explore hosting and helping organize a conference? If so, please let us know by 30 January, 2008. Please also let us know if you are an individual willing to help raise funds and organize the conference.
Margaret Owino, eastern Africa director for Solar Cookers International, received the first ever International Net Forward Energy Award at the 3rd biennial Partnership for Clean Indoor Air forum in Bangalore, India earlier this year. The award honors those who improve peoples’ health, livelihood, and quality of life by reducing indoor air pollution. Owino was selected because of her infectious energy, optimism, and enthusiasm in promoting solar cooking and related skills. The award is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and ELSolutions, a consulting and training firm that helps organizations enhance internal performance.
by Kevin Porter, SCI Director of Education Resources
As part of a senior-level engineering class, Ohio State University students Kathryn Belisle, John Karl, Cameron Kennedy, and Joshua Vos studied corrugated plastic as an alternative material for making solar CooKits. Previous attempts to use corrugated plastic, by Solar Cookers International and others, have met with mixed results. Their initial research highlighted several positive qualities of corrugated plastic as a potential solar cooker material. It is more weather resistant, more structurally stable, and easier to keep clean than the cardboard typically used in CooKits. Several negative qualities were also noted, including folding resistance, low surface porosity (for adhesion), and higher cost. Three different folding methods were tested: hand folding, folding by mechanical “brake press” device, and partial-cut folding. Hand folding was considered the least feasible, because it required the most effort, was least precise, and tended to spring back undesirably. Use of a brake press was more precise and resulted in corrugations that were more compressed. However, as with hand folding, the materials also tended to spring back. The partial-cut technique involved cutting through one layer of the corrugated plastic while leaving the second layer of the material fully intact, enabling the material to fold in the direction of the uncut surface. This method allowed for precise fold lines that held their shape more readily. However, the material only folds in one direction, making compact folding of the final product difficult. The students conducted a variety of tests on corrugated plastic to determine its suitability for solar CooKits. First, the material was tested for heat resistance. A sample was submerged in boiling water for several minutes, and exhibited no adverse effects when removed. Next, three material thicknesses were tested for strength along the fold: two millimeter, three millimeter, and five millimeter. Regardless of corrugation orientation, when the brake press fold method was used, the strength of the material was proportional to its thickness. When the partial-cut technique was used, the three thicknesses demonstrated approximately the same strength. This was expected, since their single-ply plastic thickness is the same. A test was also conducted to determine the difference, if any, between the strength of the two corrugation orientations. Results showed that the corrugations had a strengthening effect when perpendicular to the fold line. Even so, it was determined that both corrugation orientations were plenty strong. To test long-term fold durability, the students conducted a fold fatigue test. Several samples were folded along their weakest corrugation orientation (parallel) and tested for strength after 250, 500, and 1000 fold cycles. The results indicated that the material is resilient and that fold fatigue will not be an issue under normal use. Several potential reflective materials for the CooKits were tested, including aluminized polyester film (Mylar®), foil insulating tape, and metallic paint. However, standard aluminum foil was determined to be the best all-around choice. It has the most reflectivity across various surface angles, is the least expensive, and is the easiest to apply and adhered well with common spray adhesives. Unfortunately, aluminum foil did not hold up that well in durability tests. In side-by-side tests, corrugated plastic CooKit prototypes performed just as well, if not better, than a cardboard CooKit. Production of corrugated plastic CooKits is being explored. Preliminary work on this project was done by Dr. Dale Andreatta, a mechanical engineer, and Stephen Yen, a graduate student in electrical engineering at Ohio State University. South African solar cooking promoter Richard Pocock has had some success making simple solar cookers similar to the CooKit using corrugated plastics. More information on his “Suncatcher” is available on-line at http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Suncatcher
"I simply loved SUNCOOKERS. It’s amazingly engaging. The work has edge and discipline. Everyone wants a sun cooker." — Patricia R. Zimmermann, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
Award-winning filmmaker Catherine Scott has completed an inspiring documentary titled SUNCOOKERS, now available on DVD. SUNCOOKERS follows Margaret Owino on a journey across western Kenya, visiting SCI’s solar cooking projects in Kakuma refugee camp and the community of Nyakach. Numerous DVD extras make this a must-have resource for solar cooks, educators, and advocates. SUNCOOKERS can be purchased on-line at http://www.solarcookers.org.
Tribute gifts have been given to Solar Cookers International by:
Are you a federal employee? Do you know one? Solar Cookers International (SCI) has again qualified as a participating organization in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). SCI is a beneficiary of the effort through the Aid for Africa Federation. We are proud to meet the rigorous financial, accountability, and governance standards, and ask for your CFC support. Federal employees have the option of supporting SCI with either a one-time gift or with recurring payroll deductions. For those interested in joining the effort, our CFC number is 11023. This code directs your donation to SCI’s Africa programs. If you’d like to learn more about Aid for Africa, information is available on-line at www.aidforafrica.org. Your questions are also welcomed by Michael Hayes at SCI. You can reach him by telephone: (916) 455-4499, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, federal employees, for your philanthropy and involvement in the effort to spread this sustainable solar solution.
By Michael B. Hayes, SCI Resource Development Coordinator
Unlike many non-governmental organizations that work internationally, Solar Cookers International (SCI) utilizes very little government funding to carry out its programs. Instead, approximately 80% of its funding comes from individual donors like you. In an effort to offer its supporters greater flexibility and convenience, SCI has expanded its on-line giving options. SCI encourages you to visit its Web site and learn just how easy it is to save a postage stamp and give on-line. Simply go to the SCI “Donations and Membership” Web page at www.solarcookers.org/support/donations.html to view the expanded giving options, which are available to both returning and first-time donors. Would you like to make recurring monthly or quarterly gifts? You can do that, too! Payments are accepted from any major credit card or PayPal® account; either way, your donation will be processed on a secure PayPal server, reducing SCI’s processing time and expense. Thus, more of your donation is spent on programs and less on administrative functions. SCI is proud of its efforts to make the most of every donated dollar, and PayPal processing helps make this possible. Consider submitting a gift to SCI on-line. It helps save time and resources! For those without Internet access, or who prefer to make donations off-line, SCI continues to welcome and appreciate support in the form of a check, money order or credit card payment. (Mailable / faxable forms are available on-line and in the Solar Cooker Review.) If you’d like information about other giving opportunities, including corporate matching gifts, gifts of stock, planned gifts and bequests, “in-honor” or “in-memory” gifts, and in-kind support, please contact Michael Hayes by phone: (916) 455-4499 or e-mail: email@example.com. Your support makes SCI’s programs possible. Thank you!
Solar Cooker Review is published two or three times per year with the purpose of presenting solar cooking information from around the world. Topics include solar cooker technology, dissemination strategies, educational materials, and cultural and social adaptations. From time to time we cover related topics such as women’s issues, wood shortages, health, nutrition, air pollution, climatic changes, and the environment.
The Review is sent to those who contribute money or news about solar cooking projects. The suggested subscription price is $10/year. Single copies are sent free to select libraries and groups overseas.
We welcome reports and commentary related to solar cooking for possible inclusion. These may be edited for clarity or space. Please cite sources whenever possible. We will credit your contribution. Send to Solar Cookers International (SCI), 1919 21st Street #101, Sacramento, California 95811-6827, USA. You may also submit by fax: +1 (916) 455-4498 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Review is compiled and edited by Kevin Porter, SCI’s education resources
director, with assistance from other staff. Layout is graciously donated by
IMPACT Publications located in
SCI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization assisting communities in using the power of the sun to cook food and pasteurize water for the benefit of people and environments. SCI is a member of InterAction. We do not sell, rent or trade names of our donors. Tax ID # 68-0153141.
The Review is available online at www.solarcooking.org/docs.htm#newsletters.