By Okello Joshua Oscar
In a remarkable display of innovation, Makerere University has introduced the MakSol Cooker, a cutting-edge solar-powered cooking solution. Developed by researchers from the Department of Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) in collaboration with Intellsys (U) Ltd, this groundbreaking cooker promises to revolutionize cooking practices while reducing carbon footprints in households. The official launch of the MakSol Cooker took place on June 14th, 2023, and was presided over by Hon. Dr Monica Musenero Masanza, the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation.
The birth of the MakSol Cooker stems from the research project titled “Development, Production Scale-up and Commercialization of an Electric Solar Cooker (MakSol Cooker) to Reduce the Cooking Carbon Foot-Print in Households.” With support from the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) and the Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat-Office of the President, the project was led by Dr Peter Tumutegyereize, a Lecturer at the Department of Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering. A team of talented individuals, including Mrs Ayaa Filadh Wondomal, Mr Paul Soddo, Mr Kenneth Junko, Ms Zebia Catherine Nankya, and Ms Cholet Nyangoma, contributed to the project’s success.
The MakSol Cooker presents a multitude of advantages, particularly for off-grid communities seeking modern, zero-emission cooking solutions. With a battery life of five years and solar panels expected to last up to twenty years, this cooker provides an array of unique benefits: zero emissions, no recurring cooking costs, clean cooking, minimal fire outbreaks, easy cleaning, minimal heat loss, and a cooler kitchen. It operates on direct current sourced from a battery charged by solar modules and is currently priced at UGX4,300,000.
During the launch event, Hon. Dr Monica Musenero Masanza praised the research team’s outstanding achievement, delivered through Dr Cosmas Mwikirize, Superintendent-Industry Value Chains Development, Science, Technology, and Innovation Secretariat – Office of the President. She emphasized that the solar cooker represents a groundbreaking advancement in clean cooking technology, harnessing the abundant sunlight in the region to offer a sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective alternative to traditional cooking methods. By eliminating the need for wood charcoal, this innovation significantly reduces harmful emissions of particulate matter, creating a cleaner environment for all. Hon. Dr Musenero highlighted that the MakSol Cooker symbolizes progress, resilience, and sustainability, demonstrating the transformative power of science, technology, and innovation in society. She expressed gratitude to the dedicated researchers, scientists, and innovators whose tireless efforts made this achievement possible.
Dr Musenero encouraged the public to embrace this technology, emphasizing its positive impact on public health and its potential to mitigate the environmental consequences of traditional cooking practices. By adopting the solar cooker, individuals not only improve air quality but also alleviate deforestation pressures and reduce reliance on unsustainable energy sources. She extended her deepest appreciation to the researchers and innovators, acknowledging their dedication, passion, and ingenuity in creating a brighter and more sustainable future for the nation.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, also lauded the research team for their outstanding work. He emphasized that the MakSol Cooker has the potential to combat environmental degradation resulting from population growth and the search for affordable energy sources. With Uganda’s population projected to increase to 60 million by 2030 and 104 million by 2060, the Vice Chancellor urged the innovators to develop different models of the MakSol Cooker, ensuring its affordability for the average Ugandan.
The introduction of the MakSol Cooker marks a significant milestone in clean cooking technology. Its innovative design and reliance on solar energy have the potential to transform the lives of individuals, protect the environment, and drive sustainable development. As Makerere University continues to spearhead research and innovation, the future looks brighter for households across Uganda, embracing clean and affordable cooking solutions for a more sustainable tomorrow.