Aluminum, Two Cardboard Boxes Could Revolutionize Cooking Third World

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A neat idea has walked off with the $75,000 first prize from the Financial Times and Hewlett Packard Climate Change Challenge. The Kyoto Box is a cheap cooker that uses the suns rays to slow cook food and even boil water without consuming precious fire wood or adding to global warming. At $5/box the invention is really nothing more than two cardboard boxes (an up-rated version made from plastic panels is under trials) which can cook food at 85 degrees C (or 185 degrees F) or boil over two gallons of clean water in 2 hours. Unclean water kills around 1.6 million people a year. The secret is a combination of black painted inner box; an aluminum foil lined outer box and a clear plastic lid that traps the heat. The following photo is courtesy of


The Norwegian born inventor John Bohmer’s design has already gone into production in Nairobi Kenya making 2.5 million boxes each month. Needless to say, the technology is so simple just about any cardboard processing factory in the world is capable of making the boxes just as cheaply for their local market. The metal content may not be large and it is unlikely to noticeably move the aluminum foil market but we rather liked this idea for its simplicity, cheapness and multiple benefits in terms of reduction in deforestation, pollution, cost, waterborne disease and greater safety that such a simple idea could bring.

–Stuart Burns

Comment (1)

  1. Jon Bohmer says:

    Hi Stuart,

    Thanks for the writeup. If you look at our web site you will see that we have other solar products with significantly larger aluminum content, such as the SunTrap all-alu solar water heater and the Butterfly solar concentrator which is made of aluminum frames and plastic mirrors.



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