Thai Food Stand Owner Roasts Chicken Using Solar Powered Oven
Sila Sutharat laughs at Global Warming - at least, he smiles when the sun shines and the smell of succulent, roasted rotisserie chicken wafting from his small roadside food stand draws customers from far and wide. I'm guessing he smiles all the wider when he reads his monthly electric bill... just like those VISA commercials on television, the numbers are all zeroes!
Sutharat's secret is his chicken roaster which runs on solar power. The 50-year-old Thai food stand owner from the town of Phetchaburi, 90 km southwest of Bangkok, was inspired to build his roaster oven by memories of his childhood when he would play outdoors with a magnifying glass. A team of Japanese researchers (attracted perhaps by the aroma emanating from Sutharat's roaster) recently reported on his innovative roaster which utilizes mirrors to focus the sun's rays on his roadside rotisserie.
Unlike most solar powered ovens, this chicken roaster doesn't convert sunlight into electricity. According to Sutharat (pictured, left), his solar roaster oven can cook a 1.6-kg chicken in just 10 minutes on a sunny day, 20 minutes when the skies are overcast. It's not mentioned whether Sutharat's stand is open at night, nor whether he illuminates it using solar outdoor lighting.
He typically roasts an average of 50 chickens each morning, selling them for 160 baht (about $5) each. That's something to crow about, especially when you consider there are no electricity costs associated with electric roaster ovens coming off the bottom line.
The implications of Sutharat's humble roadside chicken roaster are staggering. Across the third world, desperately poor people are being squeezed by rising fuel costs and increasing temperatures that are turning lush farmland into deserts. Equipped with cheap, mass-produced solar powered roaster ovens, food preparers will not have to chop down trees for firewood, nor will they need to spend a painful percentage of their incomes on cooking oil. Once the Japanese research team who discovered Sila Sutharat's roadside chicken roaster returns to the land of the rising sun, it's likely we can expect a working prototype to be announced shortly. (via JapanNews.net)