Solar cookers are not new but what makes the Kyoto Box exciting is its simplicity and low cost – each can be made for 5 Euros – which means it could be used by millions in the developing world.

It has won the FT Climate Change Challenge, a global contest organised by Forum for the Future.

The cooker concentrates the heat of the sun into a small oven hot enough to boil water and has a number of environmental benefits.

As well as removing the need for firewood and the related deforestation and carbon emissions, its manufacturers say it can also save lives by allowing families without access to clean water to boil their water supply.

“We’re saving lives and saving trees,” says Kenya-based entrepreneur Jon Bøhmer who produces the cooker.

“I doubt if there is any other technology that can make so much impact for so little money.”

The other shortlisted inventions were:

  • Mootral – a feed additive, derived from garlic, which cuts the methane produced by cows, sheep and other ruminants by at least 5%, and up to 25% with optimum dosage. Methane from ruminants is estimated to be responsible for 20% of global warming. (Neem Biotech, UK)
  • Evaporating Tiles – an indoor cooling system which works by using exhaust air to evaporate water within hollow tiles built into a false ceiling. It halves the energy use of air-conditioning systems and can be used as a standalone. (Loughborough University, UK)
  • Carbonscape – a giant industrial microwave which ‘fixes’ the carbon sucked out of the atmosphere by trees by turning wood into charcoal. This can be buried, used as fertiliser or burnt as a highly-efficient fuel. (Carbonscape, New Zealand/UK)
  • Deflecktor – an inexpensive, lightweight aerodynamic cover for lorry wheels which reduces drag. It can cut fuel consumption by 2% on an eight-wheel lorry and trailer. (ADEF Ltd, USA)
  • Sam Bond

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