$7 Solar Cooker Wins $75,000 Climate Change Challenge

kyoto box solar cooker photo

photo: Green Launches

A humble cardboard box (well two of them, one inside the other) has won the Financial Times' Climate Change Challenge. It may sound like a joke, but those two cardboard boxes were turned into a solar cooker that captured both the judges' and public's imagination and earned it the $75,000 top prize:The Kyoto Box Could Reduce Firewood Use and Carbon Emissions
Dubbed the 'Kyoto Box' by its creator Jon Bøhner, the $6.60 solar cooker was made by placing insulation (straw or newspaper) in between the two boxes; placing foil inside the first box and painting the inside of the second box black, both to help with heating; an acrylic cover goes over the top.

And unlike some design contests where the products likely will never see the light of day, the Kyoto Box (as well as a more durable version made of recycled plastic) has already gone into production in Nairobi.

The goal is that by using solar cookers, people living in rural Africa can cut down on firewood use (claims of halving firewood use have been made) thereby reducing carbon emissions, slowing future deforestation and reducing indoor air pollution; they can also easily boil water for food or to purify it.

Bøhmer said that,

This is the simplest idea I could find. That is the philosophy behind it. I wanted people to look more closely at this very straightforward solution which was 'discovered' 240 years ago.

Air Cooling, Biochar Production, Cow Farts & Fuel Efficient Wheel Covers
Other finalists included:

The Black Phantom, a machine for which creates charcoal for use in biochar carbon sequestration. Interestingly this one came in first in the judges votes, but last in the public vote; I wonder what that says either about the public opinion of biochar or of their knowledge of it at all.

Deflektors, wheel covers for delivery trucks to improve fuel efficiency by reducing drag.

Mootral, a garlic-based feed additive to reduce methane emissions coming from domestic ruminant animals' belches and farts.

Air Cooling Ceiling Tiles which draw hot air from a room as the hot air evaporates water held it a wick surface on the tiles.

via: Financial Times (registration may be required)

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