Solar Cooking
Last edited: 24 January 2016      
Robert Metcalf demonstrates water testing

Dr. Bob Metcalf

Dr. Robert Metcalf, one of the original founders of Solar Cookers International (SCI), is an emeritus professor in Microbiology at California State University at Sacramento. Bob has traveled extensively on projects for SCI, working cooperatively with the UNHCR, Plan International, World Vision, and other international organizations.

Bob is well known for his work on solar water pasteurization and solar cookers in many countries. He has been able to confirm that contaminated water need only be heated to 65 °C (149 °F) to make it safe to drink[1], whereas it is commonly thought that water has to be boiled for up to 20 minutes to render it safe.

Bob was selected as the 2000-2001 Outstanding Teacher in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at California State University in Sacramento, California. Award criteria include teaching effectiveness and impact on the lives and careers of students.


  • November 2013: Study of water treatment in Kenya demonstrates the effectiveness of the WAPI - Dr. Robert Metcalf, research microbiologist, and Friends of the Old worked together on a study to compare results of various water treatment chemicals to the WAPI water pasteurization indicator used with a CooKit solar cooker. One finding of note is that the WAPI, when used with the CooKit, was 100% effective in producing negative results for E.coli, while the WaterGuard (3 drops/liter) method was only effective in most cases. Read the study at: The Goal is Zero: A Strategy to Eliminate Water-bourne Disease in Lower Nyakach, Kenya
  • July 10, 2012: Dr. Robert Metcalf discusses solar cooking discussed on the Afternoon Edition (Saskatchewan, Canada) - listen to the recording.
Water testing kit2

The complete Portable Microbiology Laboratory with all components

  • June 2008: Solar Cookers International (SCI) has begun the Safe Water Project in Kenya led by SCI founder and board president Dr. Bob Metcalf, a professor of Biological Sciences at California State University, Sacramento. Bob’s development of a Portable Microbiology Laboratory (PML) will allow rural health workers and community members to test water quality in the field by assessing levels of Escherichia coli contamination. The revolutionary PML can be used anywhere by practically anyone, and it will liberate government ministries in charge of water analysis who have had difficulties gauging water quality in rural areas due to travel limitations and technical expenses. Anticipated outcomes from the project include significant reductions in the incidence of waterborne diseases in over 20 communities, and broader community awareness of simple and effective water testing and water pasteurization techniques. A training was begun in June 2008 with officials and representatives from the Kenya Water Resources Management Authority and the Kenya Ministry of Health. This is the first time that these two government ministries have collaborated on a project like this, and we are thrilled to have their participation and support. Major funding for this program has come from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, for which we are very grateful!


Audio and video[]

  • July 2012: Dr. Robert Metcalf discusses solar cooking discussed on the Afternoon Edition (Saskatchewan, Canada) - listen to the recording.
  • June 2012

Dr. Robert Metcalf discusses breakthrough in water quality testing in the field in Kenya

  • April 2009

Solar Cooking-1

A stove powered by the sun is making a big difference in impoverished countries. Bob Metcalf is featured.

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