CookSack in use in Nepal
Cooking with dried dung in Nepal

    CookSack in Nepal

    Traditional fire with dried dung in Nepal

Firewood gatherers in Africa

    Firewood gatherers in Africa

Courtesy Lufthansa Magazine

Delicious food prepared without fire
even while unattended with CookSack 2012

Beans offer a high source of protein, but take a long time to cook and thus require a lot of wood when cooking by fire. Firewood is a precious and scarce resource. This is especially true for the 1.5 billion people in the world who live in populous, arid areas.  However, more than just the resources are at risk.  The people collecting the firewood also experience a tremendous burden.

Sunshine, in many regions of Africa, is in great abundance and intensity, which makes them a great place for solar energy, if there were affordable ways to access it. The CookSack2 might prove a very low cost way to access it.  It is an inflatable solar oven that will provide much needed access to solar power for cooking and purifying water.  For example, beans soaked the night before, fully cook in the CookSack2 over a time period of two to three midday hours. With only occasional tending to track the sun, people are freed up to work on other tasks. And using the CookSack2, soups and stews will be pasteurized and even simmered to a boil, making them safe to eat.

 Weighing less than an ounce, the CookSack2 is made of flexible, durable polyester film. The base sheet is reflective like a mirror and the top sheet is clear. It is welded around its edge and has an open throat. A black pot - with water and other ingredients - is placed into this open throat and onto some type of stand. Even a black painted tin-can will do, and this can be filled with water, to heat as well. The device is inflated with a plate, disk or ball cap, rolled tightly to inflate into a parabolic shape, then clipped with clothespins. The resulting parabolic solar oven is oriented carefully toward the sun. With the black pot attracting and retaining the hot sun’s rays, heat contained in the clear-faced oven does the work of cooking without fire. At low or, in some cases, no cost, CookSack2 will help people using it gain time to devote to other tasks, such as jobs and education, while also escaping the perils and violence often associated with gathering other fuel sources. Beans and many nutritious foods just got easier to prepare and the outlook just got sunnier.


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Last updated January 2014