Friday, February 10, 2012

Mali solar cookstove project goes nationwide

Women engineers promote low-carbon cooking across Mali
10 Feb 2012 - Engineer Anna Dembele’s smile broadens as she shows off the low-carbon cooking kits she makes. The association she belongs to now plans to promote use of the equipment across Mali, helping people cope with inflation and tackling deforestation in the bargain.

A 2010 report from Mali’s agriculture ministry said that more than 500,000 hectares of forest are cleared for firewood and charcoal each year in the West African country. But new ways of cooking, using solar power and heat retention, could cut those losses.

Dembele demonstrates the kit on the paved floor of her compound. There’s a basic solar cooker, which consists of a box lined with reflective foil, a metal pot and a heat-resistant plastic bag. There is also an insulated “thermos” basket in which food is put to continue simmering after being heated to boiling point, and a “rocket” stove, which supplements the solar cooker and enables more efficient use of firewood.

“It’s not just because the solar cooker and the basket can save our forests that I like them,” Dembele enthuses, sitting under a neem tree in her compound. “You can’t imagine how they have released me from the long domestic task of cooking.”

She explains how the basket frees her up to do other jobs while food cooks, as she doesn’t need to sit and watch her rice cooking for fear it will burn, as with a conventional stove. read more>>>

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