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Solar-Powered Stove Wins Climate Change Challenge

6/10/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: solar, cooker, carbon emissions, deforestation, disease, climate change

It sounds like a science project my middle schooler might do: Take two cardboard boxes, cover one with foil and paint the other black, stick them together and voila! You’ve got a solar-powered cooker that can boil water. This contraption, called the Kyoto Stove, was certainly no science project—and the $75,000 in prize money it took home was certainly no blue ribbon. 

The Kyoto Stove, designed by Kenya-based entrepreneur Jon Bøhmer, was the winner of this year’s Climate Change Challenge. The competition, hosted by the Financial Times and Forum for the Future, challenges people to find innovative ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. 

The Kyoto box is aimed at the world’s 3 billion people who use firewood to cook. Using the box to boil water and cook food would not only halve the need for firewood and slow deforestation, but it would also eliminate 2 tons of carbon emissions per family per year. Bøhmer also believes the box will save millions of children from dying of waterborne diseases. 


Kyoto Box 

The Kyoto Box can cook food and boil water cheaply. The Kyoto Box’s creator hopes the solar-powered stove will reduce CO2 emissions, deforestation and the spread of waterborne diseases in developing countries. Photo Courtesy Kyoto Energy 

Bøhmer plans to use his prize money to further his ventures. He’s developing a sturdier version of the box made of corrugated plastic, which he plans to test in 10 countries.   

The Kyoto box is constructed of two cardboard boxes, one that fits inside the other. The inside of the bigger box is lined with foil, and the inside of the smaller box is painted black. The black paint and foil concentrate heat, and a layer of straw or newspaper between the boxes acts as insulation. A transparent acrylic cover goes over the boxes, trapping more heat. The inside of the Kyoto box can reach up to 165 degrees Celsius. 

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