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)
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: FT.com, BBC News, Forum For The Future