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World’s cheapest solar box cooker comes to Pakistan
- Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - From Print Edition


KARACHI: A Pakistani-born American citizen is keen to introduce the technology of homemade, non-patent and cheaper solar box cooker in the rural areas of Pakistan.


“I have come here to show the world’s cheapest solar box cooker, a simple technology using sunlight to cook plain rice, prepare lentils and other foods on daily basis in a covered casserole,” said Pakistani expatriate Afzal Syed in an exclusive interview on Sunday.


Syed is also a volunteer associated with a non-profit American organisation, Solar Cookers International (SCI).


He said the hardboard solar box cooker could be made at home at a cost of less than Rs100.


“To make this cooker, we need a folding cardboard, reflector sheet, a heavy micron polythene bag and a clip to tight the mouth of polythene bag so that the heat is not lost,” he said.


This is a non-patent and anybody can copy its design. The cost of metal sheet cooker can go up to Rs1,000 to Rs1,200 per kit, but it would be long lasting, he said.


He pointed out that the temperature of this simple solar box cooker could reach up to 135 degree Centigrade in half an hour.


“I want to make the rural population familiar with home made solar cookers. This is perhaps a universal need for people in rural areas and suburbs of big cities like Karachi and Lahore where poor cannot afford LPG, coal or wood to cook food,” he said.


“This is my passion and I have made presentations at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other organisations to introduce this technology,” he remarked. He said these cookers are very popular in African countries, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. More than 500,000 simple solar cookers have been distributed in Africa under various projects.


“I want to give this technology to social work organisations like Edhi Foundation, Cheepa, Silani Centres or Khidmad-e-Khalq Foundation so that they can donate it free of cost to poor and needy. I will teach their volunteers to make these simple cookers,” he said.


Syed, who had visited a village Mai Jo Dero in Gharo, some 40 kilometres from Karachi to demonstrate this cooker, said that villagers themselves cooked food and were keen to get it.


Several other types of solar cookers including parabolic cookers or concentrators were also available for cooking more food at a fast speed.


The used dish antenna could be turned into heavy solar cookers with the help of either aluminium foil or tinted sheets. Unlike other cooking appliances, the solar cookers do not burn the food, he noted.