The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves invites you to participate in a joint, live webinar with Alliance partner Solar Cookers International (SCI). On May 31 at 11 AM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), SCI will discuss solar cooking and its role in integrated energy solutions.
This webinar, designed for new and existing partners, is part of a series that provides an overview of highlights, sector trends, upcoming opportunities for partners, and features on specific tools, resources, and engagement activities.
Date/Time: Thursday, May 31 at 11 AM EDT
Register: Please click here to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. In the advent of connectivity issues, please refer to this same email to click on a link that provides a list of international dial-in numbers.
Download the presentaion here.
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and SCI joint webinar - Questions and Answers
1) Any updates on updating the evaluation metrics to include solar thermal storage?
After the launch of the SCI solar cooker Performance Evaluation Process, (PEP), the next step will be developing usability protocol(s).
Solar Cookers International plans to explore a performance metric for solar thermal storage in a later phase of protocol development.
2) Which solar cooker that SCI has tested has impressed you the most?
To provide a complete answer to this question, SCI would need more information: In which latitude and altitude are you located? Which types of food do you need to cook? What are your insolation levels? Answers to these questions help determine the type of solar cooker that will work best for a specific community of solar cooks. SCI would like to develop an algorithm to display these variables in a useful format for solar cooks.
In addition to power, effective design for focus is critical to evaluate for paraboloid solar cooker designs; greenhouse devices and rigidity of the reflective surfaces are critical to consider for panel and box solar cookers.
Remember, the Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) is an indicator of power, only. Solar cooks also should consider the quantity of food that a solar cooker can heat, ability to cook local foods, unit cost, and durability when selecting a solar cooker. SCI is developing these additional usability protocol. For additional resources in solar cooker selection and project design, please visit http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Promoting_solar_cooking
3) Can you comment on any efforts to develop cookware and heat traps designed specifically for use in solar panel cookers. Rigging up inverted pyrex bowls (which we use frequently) is effective, but I can envision the creation of a heat traps that functions specifically for solar cookers.
Generally, local cookware is ideal if the outside of the cookware can be painted black. Local cooks can avoid additional purchases by using pots they already own, and that provide a familiar cooking experience. They are also more readily replaceable than imported cookware.
Regarding heat traps: the Pyrex bowls work well, although they can be heavy to ship. Like all glass products, they can break. No manufacturers have submitted separate plastic greenhouses to SCI for testing at this time.
4) The cost is the major barrier. For example even in Pakistan we provide them one time it is difficult to sustain this initiative.
SCI understands that cost is an important consideration. SCI encourages solar cooks to contribute at least a portion of the cost of a solar cooker (if not all of it), to increase ownership. The producer of the PRINCE40 is currently redesigning the manufacturing process to reduce the unit cost. The advantage is that a well-built, durable solar cooker’s cost can be recouped in 6-18 months; then the cooking fuel (solar energy) is free for years to come.
5) What percentage of commercial solar cookers have been tested by SCI?
Five different cookers’ preliminary test results are viewable at http://www.solarcookers.org/our-work/performance-evaluation-process/. SCI actively encourages manufacturers to get their solar cookers tested by SCI with the Performance Evaluation Process. SCI is brand-agnostic and will promote all high-performing, durable solar cooker designs that have been evaluated by the SCI PEP and meet the protocol standard. SCI does not release results without the manufacturers’ permission. Manufacturers can order a test at www.solarcookers.org
6) We are trying to bring solar cookers to refugee camps through aid organizations but haven't been successful. What is the best approach to access this specific target group?
The initial step is to conduct a Quick Needs Assessment (link to www.solarcookers.org
) to determine if there is a stated need and desire by the community for solar cooking solutions.
If the community members identify a need for solar cooking solutions and indicate they are willing to change cooking behaviors, next steps include identifying local connections and organizations with high-capacity and longevity, such as SCI Global Advisor Godfrey Mawira.
SCI is in communication with the United Nations Humanitarian Resource Depot (UNHRD), which provides supplies (such as kitchen kits) in times of crises. SCI exploring the possibility of including solar cookers as part of those kits.
SCI also works to include solar cooking in important conversations and publications with stakeholders such as the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
SCI often leads discussions, including the Solar Cooking Refugee Working Group, at events, during webinars, and through various digital communications, to connect partners for this unique, important solar cooking work. Stay informed about these opportunities through SCI emails, social media (@solarcookersint and https://www.facebook.com/SolarCookers/
) and the SCI Solar Cooking Wiki (www.solarcooking.org
7) I live in Cross River State, Nigeria. How can I get the cooker? I was in Bonn at COP23, and I saw the solar cooker at your Pavilion. I just want to get some cookers so I can educate my rural communities to key into it. How do I get the cookers please? Can you send Representatives of your organization to come to my country for awareness program of a sort?
Government and community leader can have high impact by identifying solar cooking as a solution and take initiative to implement it. Explore SCI’s consultancy services http://www.solarcookers.org/involved/consult-sci/ to help achieve human, environmental, economic, and social goals.
SCI encourages those interested in expanding solar cooking work to connect with local partners and experts (people who have already figured out local production, how to cook local foods, etc.). Find and contact regional partners and learn about existing and past projects on the SCI Solar Cooking wiki www.solarcooking.org Search by country name (for example http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Nigeria). SCI manages this online solar cooking database –the world’s largest and most complete solar cooking resource-- to empower partners: 1,700 pages of knowledge, connections, history, and news.
Local manufacture of an open-source solar cooker design – like the CooKit displayed at COP23 – is a good option. The plans are available at www.solarcooking.org. Artisans are encouraged to build good-quality solar cookers, and provide after-sales care to build up a solar cooking business as a source of income.
8) Alan, are you aware that there are 200W 12VDC induction switchboards and coils available? So they could serve in a SBC cooker as a hybrid cooking system.
SCI’s goal with that demonstration was to show initial explorations of this technology for cooking plus the cost of a solar PV cooking system, rather than all the technological variations. Yes, there are hybrid solar thermal/solar electricity solar cookers on the market.
9) A. How much activities SCI have in ME oil rich countries? We had solar cookers since 20 years ago in Southern Iran by the Persian Gulf but cheap fosil fuels preventing this beautiful clean tech.
A representative from Engineers Without Borders – Iran participated in the 6th SCI World Conference in Gujarat, India. Everyone can find partners, learn about existing and past projects, and more at www.solarcooking.org
and searching by country name. SCI manages this world’s largest online database to empower partners with 1,700 pages of knowledge, connections, history, and news. The Royal Botanic Garden of Jordan has a solar cooker manual in Arabic – it can be downloaded from www.solarcooking.or
B. What types of batteries do you work with? What abut storage batteries?
Thermal heat storage is still in the development phase for many of SCI’s partners. Thermal heat storage materials could include thermal mass, phase change materials, or waxes (http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Heat_storage
). Oil or steam can be used as heat carriers. SCI encourages the use of complementary technologies such as heat retention baskets (also known as retained-heat cookers) (http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Heat-retention_cooking).
C. Can solar cookers be connected to other solar devices?
In Bolivia, some people have attached small solar PV panels to sturdy solar box cookers to generate small amounts of electricity (enough to charge a cell phone) while cooking with solar energy directly.
10) Could Julie or Alan talk about whether there are any biomass backup systems within the GACC system - eg charcoal-making stoves for carbon negativity via biochar - that seem best from the SCi standpoint.
The Muni Seva Ashram in Gujarat, India, where the 6th SCI World Conference was held, has an excellent example of a biomass backup system to their solar concentrators. SCI Global Advisors Dr. Ajay Chandak and Mr. Deepak Gadhia have extensive expertise in these systems.
11) I think solar cooker has very little or no effect on health compared to other clean cookers that use wood or cool. In carrying out advocacy for clean cooking stoves especially the solar cookers was there any research in consideration of the rural household especially with the forest dependent communities with very big families and taking into consideration the cost.
Research and data collection are extremely important. SCI’s partners using the Solar Cooking Adoption and Impact Survey have found significant health improvements with solar cookers. Since solar cookers generate no emissions, overall black soot particulate which is dangerous to human health is reduced. After 10 months, smoke-related health problems experienced by solar cooks and their families, dropped from 77% to 44% with solar cooking.
Solar cookers also reduce the time and/or ongoing costs of gathering or purchasing fuel.
SCI also encourages strategies to keep the initial purchase price of solar cookers reasonable, such as local production of solar cookers, payment by installment plans, or other microfinance options.
Rural households relying on forests for fuel additional benefits from solar cooking, such as improved crop yields because soil health is preserved. For families of 8 – 12 people, multiple solar cookers or community-sized solar cookers are an excellent option. The cost of these units can be recouped in fuel cost savings in 6 to 18 months. Durable, high-quality solar cookers that continue to be used for years after the purchase price is recovered through fuel savings allow large families to cook for free, with no emissions, every day that solar energy is available. This is particularly valuable for families who desire decentralized cooking solutions.
SCI Global advisor Godfrey Mawira, contributes from Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya:
“My thoughts, not a question, are that both solar thermal and PV cooking is yet to be developed/to evolve to an excellent level, it’s still unviable for some individual households in certain parts of the world, and thus and more research and innovations are needed on issues like sun tracking, thermal storage, sunglare prevention, and for pvs challenges like power conversion inefficiencies, at the moment only about 18% of the available aperture power gets converted to DC, and we have conversion challenges from DC to AC, because most of the heaters use ACs. Grateful to learn of any breakthroughs in these areas.
Regular updates on solar cooking technologies are published in the SCI Digest. Sign up to receive the SCI Digest and additional information through email at www.solarcookers.org.