The believe that continued research will be needed in order to faciliate the development and uptake of solar electric cooking. In particular, the frame of a research proposal needs to encompass one or more of the following elements:
- Design – of a 12V deep cycle battery and hob combination. Battery lifetime needs to be investigated. Similarly, optimising the charge controller and inverter needs to be undertaken, with due consideration for harsh environments and lifetime. Such research design could also include enables M2M capabilities for monitoring of use (and potential cut off) as per the MKopa/Azuri model of service supply. The question of an inverter should not be taken as a given – the system could be designed for 12V, in which case the battery will need to be very close to the hob, in order to keep the wires as short as possible. A 12 V system might have to include hob design.
We would look to partner with a university or engineering research department to commission a (student) project, or a commission to an engineering design agency (or department of manufacturer).
- Disposal – We feel this could be a large environmental problem; assuming this industry did take off, we think some work need to be done upfront thinking through what would be the design for safe disposal of millions of batteries?
- Discussion – we need to promote the idea and see if agencies or private sector wish to pick it up. It is a change in the framing of the problem. Most of the current effort in cookstoves is placed on maximising the efficiency of biomass use. Our suggestion will seem crazy to people initially and only when enough people are talking about it will large intervention programmes consider it. We have awareness of the Stevens model for influencing policy and practice and would seek to use actor networks to stimulate discussion, and change the framing of the debate to include this option.
- Development – If the system can be designed within the target price range the hard part is then to set up distribution and leasing. There will need to be a service model rather than simple product supply. We see MKopa/Azuri as a model for this, but other models might emerge.
We welcome further discussion around this topic. This is not an idea that Gamos is seeking to make money from, nor to be the sole champion of. If this note resonates with your own institution’s priorities feel free to share it, and to take the ideas forward. We just ask for due credit and referencing as this idea takes off.