By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
SOMETHING new is taking place in Kaduna and it is engendering unbridled excitement. It is the experimentation with solar power to cook. It is giving residents enormous joy as they continue to try how the newly discovered method will lead to a better way of saving cost and producing a clean environment for all in the days and years to come.
Already, the trial has gone on smoothly giving hope to many that the idea of stemming environmental hazards and paving the way for promoting an environmentally-friendly eco-system is after all possible.
The overall aim of the new project, which is being pioneered by a group known as Development Association of Renewable Energies, DARE, is to curtail the indiscriminate felling of trees and use in cooking, as well as the pollution of the environment.
It also seeks to prevent the disappearance of rare species of trees that are almost going extinct in the state and its environs.
Director of DARE, Yahaya Ahmed, has set up a centre in Yelwa village along the Kaduna-Zaria Road and has unveiled what may be termed as ‘solar oven’ in the form of a briefcase used in baking bread, cake and other pastries with ease.
Ahmed told Arewa Voice that the newly unveiled oven uses only sunlight to operate by retaining heat to cook and warm all types of foods in a short time span.
He said: “The solar oven is a device which uses the energy of direct sunlight to heat, cook or pasteurise drinks and other food materials. Whatever the foodstuff is put inside the solar brief-case will be done within 45 to 50 minutes as a result of heat absorption from the sun.
“The solar oven works by converting light energy into heat energy, which triggers the solar briefcase to cook whatever is inside the oven within a short time for family consumption.
“However, the solar oven must be turned towards the sun and left until the food is cooked, then the oven will be made to face the sun more precisely and to ensure that shadows from nearby buildings or plants do not block the sunlight.
“This is the first time we are bringing the technology to Nigeria and our goal is to train rural and urban women on its use to save our forests from going extinct due to the continuous demand for firewood and charcoal that is ravaging Nigeria’s forests.
“Solar cooker concentrates sunlight into a receiver such as a cooking oven. The interaction between the light energy and the receiver material converts light to heat and this is called conduction. Meat, fish, bread, cake and other edible items can be put inside the solar oven for cooking during the day when the sunlight is available.”
The DARE promoter said that there is enough sunshine in Northern Nigeria and that it is possible to deploy the technology widely as an alternative energy source that can effectively assist rural and urban population in promoting cooking and other uses.
He said that local bakeries also need to embrace the new technology to reduce burning of firewood when baking bread, as cutting down of trees for baking purposes also contributes in triggering climate change, desertification and other ecological challenges affecting our environment on daily basis.
Already, a housewife, Mrs. Ruth Timothy, has confirmed being trained in the use of the new energy technology and said she enjoyed using the oven in her everyday activities. She therefore challenged other women to embrace it for easy living, particularly in the rural areas.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Director of African Climate Reporters, Dr. Piman Hoffman, has said that solar ovens harness the sun’s energy to cook food in the easiest ways without causing any environmental problem.
He said: “You don’t have to use gas or electricity for meals because this solar oven saves money and is better for the environment.”
Hoffman, however, lamented that thousands of trees are cut down in Nigeria every day without replacement, adding that more forests are fast turning into desert land forcing the migration of millions of wild lives and humans.
He stressed that bakery owners in Africa needed to embrace modern methods to carry out their activities like electricity or solar power for baking other than depending on firewood and charcoal.