>Allart (Al) Ligtenberg
> Solar Technologies in Nepal, Mongolia and Peru
>Allart Ligtenberg, a retired Hewlett-Packard engineering manager, founded
>Friendly Appropriate Solar Technologies (FAST), a nonprofit volunteer
>only group, to promote and teach solar cooking and other solar technologies
>in developing countries (and the US) to improve the environment and the health
>of the local population.
>Allart will show a variety of solar cookers that he developed: a lightweight
>backpack cooker, a box cooker, a panel cooker (used extensively in African
>refugee camps), and his parabolic "Everest" cooker that was used at Everest
>Base Camp by the 2000 Environmental Cleanup Expedition that rid the
>mountain of 650 oxygen bottles and garbage.
>The main emphasis of the 35 mm slide presentation will be on his solar
>cooking (and solar water pasteurization and drying) programs in Nepal that
>he started in 1992. Allart returns every year to follow up on these programs,
>and do treks in the mountain regions to expose people to this simple,
>low-cost technology. Substantial progress has been made over the years,
>including setting up solar Nepalese NGO's (Non Government Organizations)
>Allart will also discuss briefly his volunteer mission to Mongolia, to
>teach business management and quality control at a small Photo Voltaic
>(PV) systems manufacturer that produces small solar lighting systems for
>the nomads who live in yurts or gers (circular tents). This mission was on
>request of the Netherlands Government Expert Cooperation Program. Since
>1999 Allart has started additional solar programs in Peru and Bolivia.
Allart began his talk by showing us the solar cookers that he had brought with him that are enumerated above. All of them consisted of a reflector to concentrate sunlight and a black surfaced pot to absorb the heat in a clear container too keep the heat from escaping. The Everest and backpacking cookers were made of metals and lightweight plastic, and the others were cardboard. He explained that the one his used at home is of heavier material, but these were lightweight so they could be easily moved.
Allart explained that solar box cookers are the perfect cooking tool for refugee camps because there is no other source of fuel available. Those cookers fold up to be a package about a foot on a side and an inch deep, very portable and cost effective. However, it is not enough to just give people the cookers. A successful introduction must include training and follow-up, because otherwise it is too easy for the idea to fail because people are not comfortable with it.
The slideshow began with a couple that listed countries where wood is one of the primary sources of fuel, places like Kenya where 81% of the cooking is done with wood. Allart explained that under the pressure of population growth, there has been tremendous deforestation. As people have to walk further and further to get wood, solar cooking looks more and more attractive to them. There is hope that solar cooking can spread fast enough to keep some of the trees standing.
One of the barriers to acceptance of solar cooking is that in some cultures, like Nepal, cooking has been traditionally considered to be a very private thing to do. There is tremendous resistance to taking it out of the kitchen. In some cases they got around this by building solar ovens into the South wall of the home, with the door on the back in the wall to the kitchen. In other cases people simply learned how to look at the situation differently.
Many of the slides were of solar cookers made using the indigenous technologies in various places. There were ones made from wood, woven baskets, plastic, and many other things. There were also dryers which differed mainly in that they had holes in them so that air would flow through. These were used to dry fruits, vegetables, and dung for fuel in many places. There were also slides of solar cookers being used in places like Katmandu, Mount Everest area, and Ulan Bhatar (in Mongolia) the coldest State Capitol on the planet.
Allart thinks we should use them here "because people like to copy us."
Solar cooking in general: http://www.solarcooking.org/
Allarts site: http://bali-i.com/fast-solar/