Culture The Solar Oven: the Best Clean Cookstove for the Developing World?

Published on July 19th, 2012 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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The Solar Oven: the Best Clean Cookstove for the Developing World?

solar cooker in nepal

Yep, I love talking about cookstoves, mainly because there are so many great ideas for low-cost, low-impact cookers out there. Variations on the rocket stove seem to be most common among social entrepreneurs focused on this area, but two weeks ago, NPR’s The Salt blog took a look at another option: the solar cooker.

OK, you may well have childhood memories of half-baked biscuits “cooked” in a solar oven that you made from aluminum foil and cardboard which lead you to think “that doesn’t seem very viable,” but we’re not talking about the typical Cub Scout project here. Rather, blogger Hansi Lo Wang talked to Louise Meyer, the director of Solar Household Energy, Inc. (or S.H.E.),  a social enterprise dedicated to making solar cookers a viable option for families – and entrepreneurs – in the developing world. This video’s a bit old, but, from what I can see, still provides a good overview of S.H.E.’s efforts.

The organization has developed its own solar cooking technology, the HotPot™, and a “training program” for the product. From the video, I get the sense that they use a party model to sell the cookers – not exactly a Tupperware party, but a gathering of women to try out the HotPot.

For people in sunny regions, this seems like a smart alternative – I’d guess a backup rocket stove or other efficient cooker would need to be available, too. And, of course, a solar cooker could come in really handy if you’re experiencing some of the recent power outages around the US.

Tried out a commercial solar cooker… or had luck with a DIY version? Share your stories with us…

via @WiserEarth

Image credit: ah zut via photo pin cc


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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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