Global Climate Change Invention Award Goes To 'Kyoto Box'

After five months of searching and reviewing thousands of innovative solutions to climate change, the committee of business leaders and climate change experts chosen by  the FT Climate Change Challenge, Hewlett Packard, and the Forum For The Future decided upon a simple, but ingenious solar cooker as winner of its grand prize, $75,000. 

Kenyan John Bøhmer, the winning inventor, created his "Kyoto Box" from two cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, black paint, and an acrylic cover - no solar cells or photovoltaic rays.



The device, which cost Bøhner $5 to make, would decrease pollution, deforestation, energy costs, and about 1.3 million deaths a year in Africa alone caused by wood-burning related respiratory illnesses. The life-saving estimate does not even include the number of deaths resulting from contaminated water.

The Kyoto Box is targeted to the three billion people who use firewood to cook. Estimates are that each family that uses wood-burning methods of cooking releases almost 2 tons of carbon dioxide per year into the atmosphere.

Bohner's daughter helps paint the Kyoto Box (Photo:BBC News)Bohner's daughter helps paint the Kyoto Box (Photo:BBC News)

The Kyoto Box consists of two cardboard boxes, one inside the other, insulated with straw or newspaper between them.  The inside of the box is painted in black and the flaps of the boxes are covered in aluminum foil.  A transparent layer of acrylic then covers the box. The stove can boil water and bake, but not fry, according to Bøhmer, as the temperature required to fry would burn the box.  

"The major thing is that people will be able to boil water,"  told the BBC News.

Bøhmer will use his $75,000 to further develop the Kyoto Box.  One version is being made at a cardboard box factory; another is being developed from a sustainable corrugated plastic.



sources:, BBC News, Forum For The Future


Apr 13, 2009
by Anonymous

You've got to be kidding me

What about the days when the sun isn't shining?

Apr 13, 2009
by Anonymous

To the idiot : "you've got to be kidding me"

You're the one who's kidding, right?

Apr 19, 2009
by Anonymous

We made these in junior high

Man, I remember when we made these in first year high school science class. Took 2 hours to only half cook hot dogs lol. If you're under the African sun it might be better to throw your meat on a hot rock.

Can't believe you could win $75, 000 from a high school lesson :D. Maybe he wrote a really nice thesis with supporting reports to go with his "Kyoto Box" bringing the whole project together.

Apr 21, 2009
by Anonymous


A parabolic dish - slightly more expensive to make, would be much more efficient.

May 28, 2009
by Anonymous

You spelled Hewlett wrong..

It is Hewlett not "Hewlitt", just thought that spelling might lead to your credibility.

Jun 7, 2009
by Anonymous

You've got to be kidding me part 2

Brilliant. So the firewood goes unburned - and it naturally decomposes months later, releasing the exact same amount of CO2. Feel good science at it's best!!

Jun 7, 2009
by Anonymous

Re: You've got to be kidding me part 2

Except you forget to include that the "naturally decomposing wood" would probably still be alive and removing CO2 from the atmosphere if it's not cut down to burn later. I'm also pretty sure it takes closer to years, not months for the wood to decompose enough to release the same amount of CO2 as burning it in a couple hours would release. I've been waiting years for a stump in my yard to rot enough for me to pull it out, but it seems as solid as the day the tree was cut down.

Jun 7, 2009
by Anonymous

Rake up a bunch of leaves

Rake up a bunch of leaves into a pile on top of the stump and start a fire.

The stump will probably still be burning (or smoldering) underground a few days later, but then you'll probably finally be able to pull it out :D

As to the "Kyoto Box", seems like the givers of the cash award are either completely incompetent or just plain stupid. This isn't exactly a new invention.

I'd like to know how many of these actually make it to Africa, and how many get used on a daily basis. Since you can probably cook more food and boil more water in 10 minutes with a few small chunks of wood than you can using this box for an hour, what would be the point? You would have to force them to use the box instead of firewood.

Jun 7, 2009
by Anonymous


They did this kind of thing on Bill Nye when I was in gradeschool. This dude probably spent 5, max 7 minutes making this thing up.