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Aims and Motivations

 

We would like to introduce solar cooking to the general public in Berlin. We provide information about problems concerning the environment and the connection between them and our consumption of energy.

Worldwide we burn far too much coal, oil and natural gas - it is currently undisputed that the enormous amounts of resulting emissions are speeding up the process of Global Warming and destroying large parts of our planet.

Apart from the threat of a huge climate disaster on the basis of the gigantic carbon dioxide emissions from coal and gas power stations, as well as from the increasing number of petrol or diesel-fuelled cars, heavy goods vehicles, tractors, construction machinery, tanks, aeroplanes, and also motorcycles (in particular two-stroke engines such as mopeds), our use of fossil fuels can be lethal in other ways. Up to 15000 people in Germany alone die each year from diesel exhaust fumes. Worldwide, tens of thousands of people are killed by gas explosions, in Uranium mines, and in conflicts and wars over oil, gas and other resources.

 

 

 
 

Wind turbines and Biomass (Oil Seed Rape) in Baden-Württemberg, Southern Germany

 

As far as nuclear power is concerned, there needs to be further discussions as to how the existing nuclear power stations worldwide can be decommissioned as quickly as possible and replaced by renewable energy resources. In particular, the most significant question yet to be settled is how to deal with the waste from nuclear power stations and nuclear submarines, as well as other nuclear waste, in the most environmentally friendly way possible..

Concerning climate changes, there are unfortunately still some people who maintain that an increase of temperature by a few degrees Celsius would not have a negative influence on life on earth. Even worse, others say that an increase of 2 or 3 degrees in temperature would even be a good thing, i.e. for a cold country like Russia.

Yet what would happen if humans suddenly had a body temperature of 39ºC instead of the usual 37ºC - an increase of only (!) 2 degrees in temperature? And what would happen if our body temperature increased to 41ºC?
Are we burning away the future of our children?

Ohu Nuclear Power Station, near Landshut, Bavaria, Southern Germany.

 
 

Alternatives have been available for a long time and providing information about these alternatives is exactly what we would like to do. There are many ways in which we can free ourselves from the energy madness:

You can choose a power company which has eco-friendly production methods. In Germany it is easy to change suppliers and the cost of power from renewable energy sources (sun, biomass (organic matter), water power, wind power, geothermal power) is often not (much) higher than that from nuclear, coal or gas-powered sources. In addition you can help relieve the burden on the environment and on your wallet by making sure you do not waste energy and use energy-saving light bulbs and household appliances.

If you own your own home, you should insolate it well and replace the heating system or maybe supplement it with solar panel reservoirs (solar thermal). A combination of solar panels and a biomass fuelled heating system is a sensible alternative to oil or gas heating.

 

Solar power station on a building in Fürth, Bavaria, Southern Germany

 
 

Unlike oil and gas there are no predictions of incalculable or uncontrollable increases in the price of biomass resources such as wood shavings, wood chips, or vegetable oil. In this way we can free ourselves from the ever increasing oil and gas prices, avoid carbon dioxide emissions and create jobs. Those who use renewable energy are benefiting from state supported programmes in more and more countries. Ideally the investment in environmentally beneficial technology will pay for itself. The results for national economies, society, nature and the world will be invaluable.

The solar cooker offers another opportunity to use the heat rays of the sun. We would like to show how simple it is to convert energy from the sun into utilizable heat energy.

 

 
 

Parabolic solar cooker SK14 from EG-Solar e.V.

 

The parabolic solar cooker SK14 measures 1.40 metres in diameter and reflects almost all of the sun's rays caught by the mirrored surface area (1.54 m²) into the centre of the dish where a black cooking pot (volume: 12 litres, diameter: 28cm) absorbs the heat rays. At the focal point of heat directly under the pot the temperature reaches approximately 200ºC.

Accordingly, the solar cooker can be used for a variety of purposes: cooking, grilling, baking and deep-frying; making jam and preserves, melting candle wax and much more. Under a cloudless sky the solar cooker is almost as quick as an electric or gas cooker in the kitchen.

The solar cooker also works well on sunny days in northern countries. Ideally the sky should be cloudless, as then the solar cooker receives direct solar radiation. The temperature outdoors is not important

 
 

The solar cooker was developed by Dr. Dieter Seifert for southern countries. In many countries the sun shines 300 or more days a year. Fuel supplies, on the other hand, are expensive or hard to come by.

Thus in many southern countries trees are felled and whole forests cleared in order to be able to cook food with the firewood. Participants in solar cooking construction courses from African countries describe how as children they walked the 15 km from their village to school through the forest. Today the children walk under the blazing heat of the sun. The floods in Haiti in September 2004 caused death and injury to many firstly through the incredible speed at which water levels rose in the towns and villages and then through the lack of clean drinking water; this tragedy in Haiti is the most dramatic recent example of what happens when there are no trees to create a barrier against floods and absorb excess water. At the time of its discovery 500 years ago Haiti was almost completely covered by forest - more than 90% of its surface area was taken up by trees. Today trees cover approx. 3% !

The consequences are dramatic: the land becomes infertile and nothing grows any more, stability is lost, flooding and landslides become more and more widespread due to the lack of trees. With the loss of the land, the inhabitants lose their means of supporting themselves. Often they flee to the cities, only to find themselves in the slums. Conversely, if the trees remain standing they preserve a habitat for people, animals and plants, provide shade, and on top of that they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce essential oxygen!

Therefore, we would like to persuade as many people as possible to introduce and raise awareness of solar cookers in their own countries. If people who traditionally use firewood prepare every second meal with a solar cooker instead, the solar cooker would reduce carbon dioxide output by approx. 3 tonnes a year! Women and children are protected from the dangers of open fires and smoke. The solar cooker does not require any fuel and causes no damaging emissions, no bothersome, health-endangering smoke and what is often more important for the user: no extra costs for energy!


 
 

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