It looks so simple, and that's the key innovation.
The Kyoto Box consists of two cardboard boxes, one inside the other. The inner box is painted black to absorb sunlight, and the heat is trapped with a transparent acrylic lid. Captured solar energy heats up the air in the box enough to boil food and water and bake, but the stove is not powerful enough to fry food.
The invention received the $75,000 FT Climate Change Challenge award last week. The competition, run by Forum for the Future with The Financial Times and Hewlett-Packard, had nearly 300 entries, which were judged on their contribution to tackling climate change.
"It feels good. It was the only finalist that was a solution for developing countries," Kyoto Energy CEO Jan Bohmer, a Norwegian-born entrepreneur based in Kenya, told CNET News during a call on a crackling phone line from Nairobi.
The invention was inspired by the 240-year-old "hot box," a heat catcher by Swiss inventor Horace de Sausseur, and it could solve problems plaguing rural areas of developing countries.
Deforestation is a huge problem in Africa, note the inventors of the Kyoto Box, who hope the stove could halve firewood use, saving trees and preventing carbon emissions. The Kyoto Box is targeted at people who currently use firewood, a fuel that takes the rural poor hours of hard labor per day to collect, and can cause health problems when the fumes from the often primitive stoves are breathed in the home. … Read more