Kyoto Box Solar Cooker

In 2009 the “new kid on the block” had to be the Kyoto solar cooker, designed and manufactured by Kenya-based entrepreneur Jon Bøhmer. Touted as a solar-powered cardboard cooker which aims to transform the lives of hundreds of millions of villagers in developing countries, the Kyoto Box solar cooker was the 2009 global winner of the $75,000 Financial Times Climate Change Challenge organized by the Forum for the Future, for innovation to tackle climate change.

The Kyoto Box solar cooker functions as a classic solar box cooker allowing the inbound sunshine to enter the inner box where the solar radiation is captured and used as a heating medium. The concept is that of two different size boxes, one bigger than the other. The design is covered with an acrylic lid.

Black paint on the inner box and silver foil on the outer help concentrate the heat, while a layer of straw or newspaper between the two provides insulation. The cooker is a typical solar box cooker but with a difference. The costs are deliberately kept as low as possible to make the cooker more affordable to a global audience. This solar cooker is constructed from recycled polypropylene which is completely non-toxic and engenders a substantial longevity to the design.

Bøhmer also intends to introduce thermographic plastic indicators which will display three temperature indicators, each with their own unique color which will be easily visually identified through the glass cover reflecting, i) once pasteurization temperatures have been successfully achieved (68°C), ii) once successful cooking temperatures have been achieved (85°C) and iii) one indicating that the food is still hot enough to avoid bacterial contamination (45°C). Future functionality will include cooling and desalination features.

Bøhmer is founder and chief executive of Kyoto Energy, a Nairobi-based design and engineering company working on novel energy solutions for the developing world. He plans to use the prize money to conduct mass trials in ten countries, including India, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and Liberia.

He has developed a more robust, longer-lasting solar oven in corrugated plastic, which can be mass-produced in existing factories as cheaply as the cardboard solar oven prototype, and he intends to produce 10,000 to use in the trials. The trials will generate data to back an application for carbon credits, the crucial element which will make the project scalable, he explains. He expects each solar cooker stove to make a yearly profit of 20-30 euros, which will more than cover the manufacturing cost.

Post time: 04-03-2017