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Submission + - Engineering for Change: making a better solar cooker (

jank1887 writes: Back in 2010, the aid organization Climate Healers gave a number of solar powered cookstoves to rural Indian villages. They were rejected by the communities, mainly because they were useless when they were wanted most: for the evening meal sometimes after the sun goes down, and for breakfast before the sun has risen. Following this, the group issued a challenge to EngineeringForChange. Details of the challenge include the need to provide 1kW of heat at about 200C for two hours in both early morning and late evening, and they should be able to cook indoors, while sitting. A number of groups, mainly at U.S. and Indian engineering institutions, accepted the challenge, and developed potential solutions.

Now, almost a year later, the ten finalist designs have been selected. The actual papers have been posted to the E4C challenge workspace.

The goals of most of the designs are to keep the technology simple, although there are a few exceptions, and many include sand, oil, and salt based concentrated thermal storage. Many reports include some level of discussion on the social and economic considerations, barriers to acceptance and sustainability, and how to overcome initial resistance to adoption.

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Engineering for Change: making a better solar cooker

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