Solar cookers aren’t new. But according to National Geographic, these devices, which use only the energy of direct sunlight to heat, cook or pasteurize food or drink, are making “a big difference in impoverished communities”. In the developing world they are a lifesaver.
Solar cooking uses no electricity, gas, charcoal or wood. Only the sunshine is needed. Sunlight is converted to heat energy that is retained for cooking.
There’s even a non-profit company called Solar Cookers International, or SCI, founded in 1987, whose mission is: “Harnessing the sun to benefit people and the environment”. It aims to “help stop deforestation and ease the burden of women”. Indeed, National Geographic reports that the WHO estimates indoor pollution from cooking fires worldwide is linked to the deaths of 2 million women and children per year. In response, SCI has trained 30,000 families to cook traditional foods with the sun. The simple stove costs $5. It absorbs light and changes light energy into heat energy.
Solar energy is also a sustainable way to purify water. Heating water will pasteurize it, making it safe to drink. A basic gauge indicates when the water has reached the 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit) needed to make it safe to drink.
Did you know: one hour of sunlight could meet the world’s energy demand for a year. With all that power, SCI is striving to get solar stoves into much wider use.
This short film shows a more sophisticated solar cooker in use. It’s amazing! Want one in your backyard?