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Sustainable Community Development Services (SCODE), Kenya

Development and evaluation of a direct current solar electric pressure cooker unit in Kenya

SCODE is a community-based organization which was established to enable people in Kenya, especially the poor, to improve their quality of life by adopting technologies and approaches that are environmentally friendly and contribute towards sustainable development. Their project aims to explore the development and evaluate the performance and economic viability of a DC solar pressure cooker for off-grid rural household use in Kenya.

Research has shown that the electric pressure cooker is highly compatible with Kenyan cooking practices and is much cheaper to cook with however, the market has not been penetrated to date. Almost all available models are customized to use AC power only and the upfront costs are too high for poor communities currently using biomass and kerosene for cooking.

Initially this 12-month project was an early-stage feasibility study for piloting DC solar electric cooking in two rural communities with both off-grid households and households with unreliable grid connections. However, the appliance chosen had less safety features than most normally available AC appliances and would have required modification to reach certifiable quality. The project reverted to a more widely available AC cooker. These cookers were assessed and a suitable one developed for assembly and testing in the workshop with further evaluation done with potential users using kitchen performance and controlled cooking tests. The affordability of the unit will be assessed based on the income levels of potential users. The study seeks to achieve a solar pressure cooker that is efficient in cooking three meals in a day, durable and is affordable.

The changes to the project resulted in a delay in the completion date but results are due in February 2021.