SolSource raised more than three times its Kickstarter goal to cook anything under the sun — by using the sun.
SolSource is a sun-powered grill. It heats up in minutes, and the grill itself is made from sustainable, recyclable materials. It is produced by One Earth Designs, an organization founded in 2009 to support environmental education and health programs in rural China.
One Earth founders Scot Frank and Catlin Powers are MIT and Harvard grads (respectively). Frank administered the MIT Global Village Project in China and has advised on renewable energy projects for the Clinton Global Initiative. Powers is working on a Ph.D in environmental health from Harvard and has led environmental and renewable energy initiatives around the world. These two joined forces after discovering that hundreds of thousands of rural Chinese were dying from diseases related to pollution from their household stoves, and millions more struggled to access fuel and coal.
One Earth has worked directly with villagers in the Himalayas over the past few years to develop a solution to these problems. Thirteen prototypes later, they came out with what is now SolSource. It captures sunlight to provide heat for warmth and cooking, without requiring fuel or emitting noxious fumes. It was designed to be portable and durable to withstand hard conditions.
“Nomads can save up to 70 percent of their energy costs, feed their families while breathing cleaner air, and reduce carbon footprint by 50 percent or more,” Powers said.
The team said that last Fourth of July, American grills generated more CO2 in a single day than many African nations produce in a year, and charcoal grills generate 10 times more CO2 than stoves. One SolSource, they claim, can offset the carbon footprint of four Americans. And cook a hamburger in six minutes.
The goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to distribute SolSource to anyone looking for a more environmentally friendly way to grill. It can grill, steam, bake, boil, or fry, and is clearly generating a lot of excitement. Nearly 500 backers pledged $139,930. The initial goal was $43,000.
One Earth Designs also builds products to make water transportation easier and safer for women. It works directly with rural communities to crowdsource ideas and develop products, using advanced engineering and design, that serve them. One Earth also collects data from its projects to evaluate impact. The company is based in China