An Ethiopian student believes he has overcome the problem of keeping a solar-powered oven at a sufficiently high temperature for it to be able to bake bread.
While solar cookers using mirrors and other reflective surfaces to concentrate the power of the Sun are popular for less energy-intensive tasks such as boiling water and cooking stews, Asfafaw Tesfay claims his solar oven can store the more intense heat required for baking bread by directing the sun's rays onto a tray of salts.
According to Eco-business.com, these can store the heat for up to 24 hours, and maintain a constant temperature of about 220 degrees Centigrade, enabling users to harness it to cook a variety of food more efficiently than at present.
This solar cooker is also far less harmful to the environment, it notes.
Severe deforestation, along with a patchy electricity supply, mean only 15 per cent of Ethiopians are currently connected to the country's main power grid, so Tesfay believes his invention could greatly increase the number of people in his native country who can prepare a type of flat bread considered a staple there themselves.
Tesfay and his fellow students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are now looking for commercial partners to help them market and sell their solar oven.