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Solar cooking helps to save the planet

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Solar cooking: helping to save the planet

Solar Cookers International, which has worked with Mr. Diassana (see Recycled materials make solar cookers, save trees in Mali) and many others in Africa to promote solar cooking, was honoured internationally during the IX World Renewable Energy Congress (WREC) in Florence, Italy, in August 2006. The Congress noted that more than 30,000 families have benefitted directly from its field projects and many others have used its resources to learn how to make and use solar cookers and teach others to do the same. Two billion people rely on wood and charcoal for cooking fuel; solar cookers can reduce a family's needs for fuel wood by 30 to 50 per cent, thus alleviating conflicts between their needs and the need to preserve forests, prevent air pollution, and save electrically-generated energy.

"We are honored and happy for the chance to show such a distinguished world audience what solar cooking means for the planet," said Bev Blum, an SCI founder and former director. "We developed the world's lowest-cost mass-produced solar cooker, and low-tech tools that allow African women to solar pasteurize their children's drinking water and milk. During 10 years of field work in Africa, we developed teaching methods that emphasize women teaching women and refugees teaching refugees."

Adapted from Solar Cooker Review, Vol. 12 No. 2, August 2006, at 

For more information: Solar Cookers International

1919 21st Street, #101, Sacramento, California 95814 USA. Email. Solar Cooking Archive



A funnel cooker designed by Steven E. Jones of Brigham Young University.

What is a solar oven?

Bend a cardboard sheet into a funnel and glue tin foil to the inside.

Paint a jar or pot matte black to absorb more heat and put it inside a plastic bag.

Put the bag and the jar in the funnel.

The funnel reflects enough sunlight onto the jar that water will boil and food will cook thoroughly.

When and where do solar ovens work?

Within the tropics: all year

Outside the tropics: all year, with longer cooking times in winter

Cloudy days: as long as some of the UV gets through there’s no problem

How much does it cost and who can make one?

About $1 per person: they can pay for it themselves!

Anyone can make one. Cost can be reduced by scavenging or by using homemade glue.

Materials: cardboard, glue, tin-foil, a pot or jar, black paint, a small block of wood, and a special plastic bag (like an oven bag).

Time involved

Making a solar oven your first time takes 2 to 3 hours

3 cups of most foods takes 1 to 2 hours to cook, but requires no stirring


For other stories about solar power, see:

Unique rental model brings solar power to remote Lao villages

Solar power hearing aid battery offers hope for deaf in developing world

Solar-powered boats bring education, sustainable energy to poor communities

Solar lamp replaces hazardous kerosene in Indian villages

Low tech systems improve water, sanitation in remote Afghan communities

Micro-hydro electrifies remote South American communities

Grameen Shakti, empowerment through renewable energy

From fu fu to solar power, Fab Labs let people make what they need

Recycled materials make solar cookers, save trees in Mali

Bhutan’s yak herders prefer solar power to kerosene and firewood

Solar water disinfection saves lives, money in largest Kenyan slum

World’s first solar cooker village helps cut deforestation in Somalia

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