Integrated Cooking Systems / Retained Heat Cooking

Tom Miles

Experience with Integrated Cooking/Retained Heat Cooking
David Whitfield, CEDESOL, Cochabamba, Bolivia February 2005

Technology transfer is more a social issue than a technological one.
That is one reason our methods utilizes hands on works shops followed by
a 6 month documented use period to help force the development of new
habits. Once relatives and neighbors see the "home improvements" and
hear from their friends the beneifits, they all want the devices too.
In that way a "demand" is created, as well as a cultual base of people
that basically understand the technology. The the next phase is short
demonstrations for groups of people that want to buy the devices. That
is where we are now.

Our vision evolved from just solar cookers, to solar cookers and
efficient stoves and then solar cookers, efficient stoves and retained
heat cookers, used in combination. Thus the term, integrated cooking
systems, which I think was coined by Wilfred Pimentel after returning
from two of our Ecological Cooking systems courses.

I think several years back Dean Still refered to their research at
Aprovecho, that indicated that retained heat cooking was the single most
significant cooking varible that could immediately reduce the ills
related to biomass cooking, even without improved cookstoves. I believe
his information is still up on their web site.

We took those indications to heart, but continue to persue incentivating
the use of solar cookers and efficient wood cookers, because used
together they reduce by more than 80% the fuels used in traditional
methods, as well as reducing other ills accociated with traditonal
cooking, and we have found that it is just as easy to introduce the
technology all at once as it is one at a time.

Many folks on this list are still skeptical of solar cooking. We have
learned that when we are up front from the beginning that solar cooking,
(in what ever form) will not replace their traditional cooking 100%,
then it makes more since to the people. For instance in the states you
might have a toaster, a small electric toasting or warming oven, a gas
stove and oven combined, and a microwave oven, all useful for specific
cooking. This comparision helps people understand that the solar cooker
is not intended for full time cooking. The fact that the solar box
cooker can be used as a retained heat cooker, when there is no sun has
been a real boost to our efforts here in Bolivia.

We believe that this is one of the reasons we have had such success
getting people to develop the habit of using the solar cookers. We have
folks that cook at night for their husbands who work the graveyard shift
using the solar cooker in rhc mode! They bring the food to boil, put
the pots inside the solar cooker and let their husbands take the food
out at midnight when they are leaving for work. Those ladies are so
happy not to have to cook at 11 at night!

In the case of the solar cookers, since discovering their double utility
the number of users who use the solar cooker 5 to 7 days a week
increased from 77% to 89%. For us this is very significant. The solar
cooker/rhc users report a yearly average of 65% fuel savings.

In case you are interesd, Bruce Stahlberg is heading up an ETHOS
commitee on Integrated Cooking Ssytems. Right now the discussion is
centering on Retained Heat Cookers. His address is Bruce Stahlberg
in case you want to contribute or learn from others

Maybe this lists wizards could post the topics under Integrated Cooking
Systems on the stoves web page for anyone to follow?

warm regards
David Whitfield