Science

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Forum for the Future
The Kyoto Box.

Inexpensive Solar Cooker Makes Clean Water Readily Available to Third World

April 10, 2009 04:00 PM
by Kate Davey
The prizewinning Kyoto Box is a cheap, safe alternative to burning firewood for boiling water and baking food.

Solar Cooker Expected to Help “Millions”

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A solar cooking device called the Kyoto Box won first prize in the FT Climate Change Challenge sponsored by Hewlett Packard and organized by the Financial Times and Forum for the Future, a charity committed to sustainable development. The Kyoto Box can boil a little more than two and a half gallons of water in two hours.

Forum for the Future CEO Peter Madden said, “The Kyoto Box has the potential to transform millions of lives and is a model of scalable, sustainable innovation.”

Jon Bøhmer, co-creator of the box, believes that it will help reduce the use of firewood for cooking and increase the availability of clean water. At least 2 billion people rely on firewood for fuel and boiling water kills many deadly germs. Bøhmer told the Forum for the Future, “We’re saving lives and saving trees.”

The device costs about $5 to make but will be distributed for free. It is comprised of an inner cardboard box painted black and an outer cardboard box covered in silver foil, “with an acrylic cover which lets the sun’s power in and traps it.”

Related Topics: The pros and cons of inexpensive innovations for the developing world

In March of 2009, the World Health Organization stated that a mixture of salt, sugar and clean water is a reliable remedy for diarrhea, which is responsible for the deaths of more than two million children each year. Because Westerners consider diarrhea an embarrassing affliction rather than a deadly condition, research has declined and there has been little public support for treatment efforts.

One Laptop Per Child foundation offers cheap laptops to children in developing countries. However, at prices from $175 to $250, many consider these laptops too expensive for the developing world; in addition, some users say they’re simply not tough enough to handle long-term use by children. Other concerns include slow Internet and operating speeds.

The Tata Nano, the cheapest and one of the smallest cars in the world, was unveiled in March 2009.  Reuters reported that Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata told reporters, “We are at the gates offering a new form of transportation to the people of India, and later I hope other markets as well.” Critics say that widespread adoption of the Nano would create traffic problems and boost India’s gasoline prices.

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Reference: Kyoto Energy

For more information on the Kyoto Box and the Kyoto Energy company, consult the official Web site.
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