Sep 8, 2017
Sep 9, 2017
Thank you for your comments and suggestions.
A tutorial video is planned, but first we'll carry out some field tests to see where and how to optimize design, simplicity, and costs.
We're not big fans of crowdfunding. We value the insights and execution power of strong partners over the chance of doing it all ourselves. The strong partners are out there, but also in this case we'll stand much clearer and convincing if we've carried out initial field tests first.
With the CoLab application we hope to get on the radar of some potential partners, and hopefully run into people we don't know today who have knowledge, competencies, and networks that we don't know today will help our project succeed.
I know the Desolenator-team pretty well. Goid suggestion. I'll give them a call.
Thanks. Your inputs are much appreciated.
Sep 9, 2017
This is really exciting! To your point about "insights and execution power of strong partners," Michel has directed you to a good one, "related solar cooker proposal."
There are a couple of simple tweaks that could strengthen your proposal. For example, add the volume of water in the pot when you talk about time it takes to boil. It would also benefit from some sketches with equipment labels, particularly the aspects that improve upon traditional solar cookers.
One last thing, I am curious about the cultural or non-practical aspects of cooking over a fire, and how that impacts the adoption rate. For example, the hearthstone has long been considered the centre of a home, how does that translate to a solar cooker? Also, when I fire is started and boils a pot of water, the fire keeps going and is ready for another pot right away, does a solar cooker stay warm and ready for the next pot, so the boiling is quicker?
Pardon my naïvité, I have never used a solar cooker, and understand there is a legacy of disappointment in uptake, so I wonder if we are asking the wrong questions as to why that might be. Your lens innovation looks revolutionary, so it would be a shame to miss the secret to uptake.
Manohar Lal Baharani
Oct 28, 2017
Harnessing the solar energy with faster pace is welcome move particularly in the solar cooking applications. Have you thought of some applications that match with the innovation. For example there are hundreds of thousands of tea vendors serving hot tea in way side of urban towns through out the day in many countries. The solar energy is available day time, hot tea is sold to customers throughout the day. 10-13 minutes is good time interval to keep making the tea on the road side tea stalls. An integrated module of tea making with your innovation could be a nice start up venture. Research on something similar applications that best fit to the innovation could provide jump start avenues for the technology.
I would appreciate if you could highlight the practicability of decentralised distributed assembly of the equipment near its market zones with the core items getting manufactured at some centralised location.
Oct 29, 2017
Great proposal using inexpensive fresnel lenses and reflecting mirrors to concentrate a large amount of solar energy. I'm a big fan of "best cost solar concentration", and I believe that this design has a good chance of making the projected costs of manufacture.
After solidifying the basic performance under varying solar insolation conditions, I'd recommend that some thought be invested in weatherability. Large aperture designs like this will be shifted by the lightest of winds, and the plastic fresnel lenses may degrade quickly due to UV radiation. It may be best to store the machine indoors.
In the future, dynamic solar tracking and heat storage would take advantage of the significant energies developed by this design.
Keep it up!
Oct 30, 2017
Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I will add info on volume.
Re. cultural aspects, this is something we're looking into by performing a number of local tests (Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Ivory Coast, India, Nepal, and Mexico are presently looked into). Each test is performed following this format: 3-5 families are given a solar cooker. Each family cooks 50 meals, documenting each meal by taking photos of the process and outcome. They are also interviewed after the tests. For this work, they receive a payment (USD 50). For an amount of money equal to the payment, they are offered to keep the solar cooker after the end of the test period. This test setup will (hopefully) provide us with important information on how the cooker fits local cooking culture, documentation, ideas for general improvements and local adjustments, and an indication of whether the users find the cooker is worth USD 50.
The cooker heats up immediately, so cooking time will not be significantly reduced from meal to meal.
Oct 30, 2017
Thank you for your idea for tea stalls. It's ideas like that we are looking for. We would really like to find people/companies/organizations, who have the insights, networks, and distribution channels needed to promote such ideas. However, it's not something we'd be good at doing do ourselves. Our strength is producing the efficient, inexpensive lenses, not in approaching these markets.
As for local production, this is definitely possible. The cookers we are testing now are locally produced and assembled. But as with the business opportunities mentioned above, this is something we believe other organizations may be better at handling. We are also considering finding a company that can produce cookers in large volumes at low costs. This will not create local jobs directly, but if locals have money freed from not needing to buy as much fuel as before, then this should lead to increased local economic activity, hence indirectly driving new jobs.
Oct 30, 2017
Thank you for your suggestions. We are looking into weather's influence. The lenses will over time degrade in sunlight, but as we expect users to take the lenses indoor when not using them, we expect them to last for a few years. As a new lens shouldn't be more than $10-15 this is hopefully ok. Lenses will last longer if glued to the backside of standard windows glass (this is what we do with the utility-scale version of our invention), but this will of course increase costs and add complexity in storing the lens as it cannot be rolled up then.
Dynamic tracking and heat storage will be possible, but at a cost. The question is whether the users can/will pay for such extra features.
Oct 30, 2017
Congratulations to Heliac, one of Solar Cookers International's Organizational Associates for achieving the semi-final stage.
We're glad that Heliac staff were able to attend the 6th SCI World Conference on solar cooking,in January 2017 in India, and to meet some of the hundreds of partners SCI is connecting as a lead in the global solar cooking movement.
and Caitlyn Hughes, SCI Program Director
Oct 31, 2017
@Loretta Pehanich & Caitlyn Hughes
Thank you! :)
Dec 22, 2017
Jan 26, 2018
Congratulations on your win! Can't wait to see this project accelerate!
Manohar Lal Baharani
Jan 27, 2018
Jan 30, 2018
Congrats to you and your team on this achievement!