The Community Cooker Foundation (A PLANNING Systems Services Initiative).
The Community Cooker Foundation is a result of Jim Archer’s determination to find a solution to the heaps of rubbish in Africa. He is the brains behind the invention and development of the Community Cooker. Jim was moved by the massive amounts of garbage he saw and wanted to do something about it. He believed there could be proper ways of disposing of this garbage in a healthy, economical and profitable way.
1. THE COMMUNITY COOKER
The Community Cooker is a remarkable recycling project currently operating in Nairobi’s largest slum, Kibera. The cooker turns rubbish into energy for cooking, and baking and for boiling water. It has two complimentary functions; to address sanitation, health and environmental issues associated with the growing mounds of rubbish in informal settlements, and to provide communities with alternatives to charcoal, firewood and paraffin for cooking meals and boiling water. The Community Cooker has the potential to transform informal settlements rural villages and city communities into resource rich communities while at the same time mitigating deforestation and reducing ground water pollution.
The Community Cooker is a simple machine and can be built almost anywhere. The cooker itself is made of welded steel insulated with fire bricks on all four sides. The top of the cooker consists of a metal plate, and serves as the cooking surface. The cooker has two ovens for baking located underneath the metal plate. A chimney carries the smoke from the combustion chamber to the chimney’s outlet high above the neighbourhood’s roofline. Because the stove burns rubbish at over 800 degrees Celsius, it achieves 99 percent 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 rubbish storage racks into the combustion chamber of the stove. Dry, sorted rubbish is manually fed by the stove operator. The Community Cooker is deliberately designed to be labour intensive and to use locally available materials so that repairs, maintenance and operation can easily be carried out by members of the local community.
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 completely ignited, the cooker can operate 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 water distillation, brick and pottery baking and smelting of aluminium, copper, bronze and brass and the generation of electricity and refrigeration.
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