Solar cooking: Meaning, advantages, and need of the hour
"Let the sun shine in," they said, without knowing how this could become one significant revolution in the way we cook. With the rising population, our fossil fuels are getting exhausted sooner than we expected. With this becoming a global issue, solar cooking came into the picture, delaying mankind's fateful end by a few more centuries. Let's learn more about this concept promoting sustainability.
Why does this story matter?
- Around 2.4 billion people in the world cook using biomass and coal, which generates harmful household air pollution.
- Every year, 3.2 million people die as a result of illnesses induced by home air pollution from incomplete combustion of solid fuels and kerosene.
- Solar cooking is a healthy, safe, cost-efficient, and proactive alternative. It is a call of the hour and should be adopted globally.
Sunny side up: Let the sun do the cooking
Solar cooking means using sunlight to heat or cook food. With this, you can easily pan fry, deep fry, bake, grill, or pressure cook your food. As astonishing as it may sound, this concept has been in existence since the time of Archimedes of Syracuse in the Classical World. It has only been during this time around that its use is being encouraged.
A natural way with a tinge of technology
There are three kinds of solar cookers. Box-type solar cooker consists of a box with a transparent glass on it. You keep the food inside to heat. Community solar cooker serves 40-50 people at once, hence the name. Two large reflectors are placed outside the kitchen. Dish-type solar cooker has a large parabolic reflector that concentrates the sun's rays at a focal point.
Here's how a solar cooker works
A solar cooker lets the UV light rays in and converts the light energy into heat. Due to the mirror, an opaque base, and the use of dark colors inside the cooker, a greenhouse-effect is created by trapping the heat. This warms the food evenly.
Safe, cheap, and easy: Solar cooker is all things amazing
As opposed to the traditional methods of cooking, solar cookers do not need fuel. This prevents the depletion and deterioration of fossil fuels. They are super affordable and easy to use. In fact, they are pollution-free and ensure a safer experience than the traditional ways of cooking. From boiling and grilling to roasting and pressure-cooking, all you need is just the sunlight.
How is solar cooking becoming a need of the hour
Burning fuels such as wood and gas have been among the major factors of climate change and global warming. Not only that, as per the National Library of Medicine, indoor air pollution from solid fuels accounted for 3.5 million deaths in India back in 2010. The most affected groups were women and small children, suffering from diseases like lung cancer, pneumonia, COPD, asthma, and leukemia.
India's tryst with solar cooking needs more 'heat' to prosper
The Indian Oil Corporation Limited and the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas developed a solar cook stove called 'Surya Nutan' in June 2022 to decrease the dependence on gas consumption. It is a stationary, rechargeable, and kitchen-based indoor solar cooking platform. However, there's a lot more that's needed to make solar cookers more acceptable in India, especially for women in rural areas.
Some religious organizations use solar cooking for devotees' meals
Tamil Nadu's Auroville global village has a solar kitchen that began as an experiment in the 1970s. The concept for devotees' meals started at the Brahma Kumari Spiritual Trust, Mount Abu in 1997. With support from the central government, The Tirupati Temple and the Shirdi Saibaba Temple started the process gradually. These systems are based on Scheffler Technology, innovated and implemented by Deepak Gadhia.