Saturday, May 3, 2008

NST- No fuel to cook? Use the bug 80503

No fuel to cook? Use the bug

KUCHING: The spiralling cost of cooking fuel is hitting the wallets of consumers in every stratum of society.

Worst hit, perhaps, are consumers in remote, interior regions of Sabah and Sarawak who pay inflated amounts for the commodity because the cost of transporting the fuel over long distances by land, river and even air to their villages is indirectly passed to them.

But, maybe, not for long, as solar cookers have emerged as a viable way of preparing meals. This fact was underscored by Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd (SAINS) during a demonstration here on Wednesday.

SAINS senior network engineer Allen Liew Than Ho said the benefits of solar cooking were a low investment cost, no running costs, little required maintenance and it was environmentally friendly.

In addition, food being prepared in a solar cooker could be left unattended as it would not burn.
"In developed countries, solar cookers are used mainly by the environmentally-conscious. In developing countries, they are used because of an acute scarcity of cooking fuel," Liew said during SAINS' solar cooking demonstration for about 200 students of SMK Batu Kawa.

"Solar cookers work by diverting sunlight to a targeted spot, which then traps and generates heat, which cooks food," he explained.

He said on sunny days, solar cookers could cook food almost or just as fast as conventional gas or electric stoves.

For his demonstration, Liew used three types of solar cookers: the bug, the funnel and the shuttle.

All of the solar cookers can be constructed manually with varying degrees of difficulty, with the bug cooker being the simplest to construct and the shuttle the most difficult.

Liew used all three types of solar cookers to cook rice, eggs and sausages within an hour.

Applauding SAINS for its awareness programme, SMK Batu Kawa principal Nedumaran Lingappan said the initiative was helpful in educating students on the importance of conserving energy and the environment.

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