The Community Cooker is a simple machine and can be built anywhere. The cooker itself is made of welded steel with eight circular hot-plates for cooking located on the top of the stove. The cooking pots are partially submerged into the hot-plates in order to minimize heat loss from the combustion chamber, while increasing cooking speed. The cooker has two ovens for baking located underneath the hot-plates. In the centre of the cooker there is a chimney which carries the smoke from the combustion chamber to the chimneys outlet high above the neighbourhood’s roofline. Because the stove burns rubbish at over 800 degrees Celsius, it achieves complete combustion, producing smoke that is white in colour and almost odourless. At the bottom of the stove there is a wide metal chute that allows rubbish to be pushed from the trash storage racks into the combustion chamber of the stove. The rubbish is manually fed by the stove operator, according to the number of hot plates being utilized and the level of heat required for cooking a given dish. The Community Cooker is designed with locally available materials so that repairs, maintenance and operation can easily be carried out by member of the local community.
Receiving the prize will give us a podium to get this technology out there and onto the next level. Test results released in March 2011 by SGS on the Community Cooker show ninety-nine percent combustion efficiency and the ash measured to be within regulatory limits. We are keen to develop alternative uses and network like minded groups or individuals who can help us improve this technology by, using the high heat of the cooker for smelting soft metals, generating electricity through steam driven turbines, using the cooker's ovens as a kiln for baking clay, distillation of water for drinking.
The Community Cooker has the potential to transform informal settlements and rural villages into resource rich communities. The Community Cooker represents a simple, low cost technology with a socially inclusive vision for change; engaging communities to participate in collecting rubbish to exchange for energy to cook food and heat water. Once set up, the cooker can operate for up to 24hrs a day with minimal running cost. While the Community Cooker is currently designed for cooking and boiling water, there is future potential to use the energy produced for alternative income generating activities such as brick and pottery baking, aluminum smelting or water distillation.