Solar Cooking
Solar Cooking
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Last edited: 4 May 2020      
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The Lightoven III, designed by Hartmut Ehmler, is explained at a training event for Pakistani Boy Scouts in January 2015.

Events[]

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  • NEW: Webinar: Thursday, 11 November 2021, 1:00pm UTC: - Solar Cookers International will present a webinar showing how solar cooking helps to improve public health, and the health of the environment around the globe. As part of this year's COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, it will take place as a side event at the World Health Organization pavilion. There is limited space available for those interested in participating in this free event. Register early.
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  • 22-26 November 2021: 2nd National Congress for Solar Drying and Cooking Food - An affiliated group of universities in Mexico will host an online conference relating to solar food drying and cooking, as well as, food safety and energy savings realized with minimal environmental impact. Participants can register to view the presentations, or apply for presentation consideration. The conference will be in Spanish. Registration information... - (English version)
  • 17-23 December 2021: Solar Cooking Awareness Week (Southern Hemisphere) - A loosely organized bid to acknowledge the fun and benefits of solar cooking. Show someone how to solar cook and share a meal.
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  • 24-26 January 2022: Fourth International Conference: Advances in Solar Thermal Food Processing - CONSOLFOOD Chairman, Celestino Ruivo, has announced an extended call for abstracts for the upcoming conference in January 2022, which is now planned to be an online event. Advances in solar cooking as well as solar food processing will be considered for inclusion. The event schedule and submission requirements are in CONSOLFOOD 2022 conference information.
See also: Global Calendar of Events and past events in Pakistan

News[]

Pakistani Scouts are interviewed during the solar cooking demonstration - Photo credit: Scouts go Solar Newsletter

  • October 2018: Scouts demonstrate solar cookers - Pakistani Scouts were interviewed on the Pakistan Television Network (PTV) at a solar cooking demonstration designed to illustrate how the Pakistani Boy Scouts Association is promoting sustainable solar thermal cooking. Read more about the demonstration in April news at: Scouts go Solar, Issue no. 3: January - July 2018

Muhammad Hassaan, an engineering student from Pakistan builds a solar concentrator as part of his final school project. - GoSol.org

  • July 2015: Muhammad Hassaan, an engineering student from Pakistan, builds a GoSol.org solar concentrator as part of his final school project. With help from two other teammates, they have designed a hybrid solar and biomass power generation system. Read more...

The Lightoven III, designed by Hartmut Ehmler, is explained at a training event for Pakistani Boy Scouts. - Hartmut Ehmler

  • January 2015: Pakistani Boy Scouts are introduced to solar cooking - Hartmut Ehmler photographed this Boy Scout training event of his Lightoven III solar panel cooker. It is a lightweight portable design, suitable to take into the field for camping.
  • July 2014: New Pakistani solar cooks will need more support - Applied Green Technology reports that a great deal of training and support will be needed to help the new solar cooks there adapt their normal recipes to their new solar panel cookers. Read more...
  • May 2014: Amir Karim, Chairman of the UK charity, Lady Fatemah Trust (LFT), reports that his organization continues to purchase and ship CooKits to needy populations around the world. Recently LFT sent 2,500 solar cookers to Pakistan along with a volunteer trainer from Cyprus. Trainees will work in Pakistani villages where wood and cow dung are typically used for cooking. LFT has also shipped 550 CooKits to Tanzania. In Iraq, where LFT is currently distributing solar lights, they will also be supplying desert villages with solar cookers and training.
  • March 2014: Three-year anniversary of the introduction of the CooKit and HotPot Solar cooking advocate, Afzal Syed, continues his efforts to spread solar cooking technology in Pakistan. He has recently met with the Chambers of Commerce, professional woman's organizations, and was interviewed on Dunya television. Watch the interview
See older news...

History[]

Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises

Pakistan hosted one of the larger privately sponsored solar cooking programs ever carried out. A British-based organization, SERVE (Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises), began work with refugees from Afghanistan in 1980. The previous year, after the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan, nearly 3 million refugees had fled to Pakistan, principally to the Northwest Frontier Province and Baluchistan. The population was made up of largely illiterate rural people, most of whom had lived near the border with Pakistan. A variety of relief and educational programs were offered to the group as they settled in for what turned out to be a lengthy stay in refugee camps.

In 1983, SERVE conducted a survey to assess what the refugees felt to be their most urgent needs. Performed professionally with assistance from UN experts, the survey's results revealed the greatest felt need was for assistance in obtaining cooking fuel. The area had 300 sunny days a year and it thus appeared to SERVE staff that solar cooking would be useful. Devices that were within their financial reach and adequate training in solar usage would be essential, however. Initially, a small pilot project was conducted in one camp with 50 families. These pioneers were each loaned a cooker and taught to use it. The ovens were similar to those in use in India, boxes with glass top and a mirror reflector.

At the end of the project, 80% of the families wanted to purchase the cooker. A few modifications, based on experience from the the pilot program, were made in the device, including making the cookers slightly larger larger and using shiny mylar rather than mirrored glass for the reflector. The cost of the boxes ranged between $60 and $70, which was more than refugees could afford so donor assistance was found to partially subsidize the cost, with refugees paying around $18. A small workshop made the cookers, and supply was able to keep up with demand. Satisfied users of these cookers were their best advertisement.

Eventually, the refugees felt able to begin the trek homeward, after political events changed the situation in Afghanistan. Many took their ovens along, and by that action advertised solar cooking to new audiences. Demand was high enough that a shipment of 780 ovens was sent to Kabul, Afghanistan and sold out, from the back of the truck in a marketplace, in five days. Demand in Afghanistan was higher even than in Pakistan, perhaps due to the ever-present danger from unexploded mines in fields and growing shortages of wood.

By 2000, SERVE donors were suffering from "donor fatigue" and, although there was still demand in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, the solar program was ended. (See Afghanistan.) Between 1985 and 2000, SERVE distributed around 20,000 solar cookers in the area.

The Building and Construction Improvement Programme

Solar cooking did not, however, disappear in Pakistan after the SERVE program ended. In 2003, The Building and Construction Improvement Programme, a Project of the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, began workin remote areas of Northern Pakistan. The project introduced a number of energy efficient and renewable devices, including a line of solar cookers. Like the SERVE model, the project chose to use a box model. Construction materials were selected on the basis of availability in the area with provisions built-in for replacement of the glass box top.

Fazal ur-Rehman

Master Fazal ur-Rehman of Kundian City in the Punjab, indicates that he has built a number of types of cookers (SCI Rev., Jul 02).

Archived articles

Climate and culture[]

Solar Cookers International has rated Pakistan as the #3 country in the world in terms of solar cooking potential (See: The 25 countries with the most solar cooking potential). In 2020, the number of people in Pakistan, a country with abundant sun but fuel scarcity, is estimated to be 45,400,000.

According to Afzal Syed writing in April 2011: "The rising cost of fuel in Pakistan is becoming more of a problem for Pakistanis. People spend 100 Rupees ($1.18 USD) or more a day on cooking fuel. (A bit over 20% of per capita income) Some can’t afford enough to cook all their meals. He sees the CooKit as a wonderful alternative fuel."

See also

Resources[]

Possible funders[]

Facebook groups[]

Reports[]

  • Promoting solar cooking in Afghanistan (Detailed report discussing the choice of solar cookers for use in Afghanistan based on cultural, economic, and logistical considerations. Much of the discussion would be applicable to Pakistan as well.)

Project evaluations[]

Main article: Project evaluations

Articles in the media[]

Audio and video[]

July 2017: 

March 2011:

See Also[]

External links[]

Solar cookers] - Pakistan Renewable Energy Society

Construction plans in Urdu[]

Contacts[]

The entities listed below are either based in Pakistan, or have established solar cooking projects there:

SCI Associates[]

NGOs[]

Manufacturers and vendors[]

Individuals[]

Government agencies[]

Educational institutions[]

See also[]

References[]