Worshipping the Sun god can be done throughout the year if solar energy is tapped for a variety of human needs, said solar energy expert Celestino Rodrigues Ruivo. Celestino, a solar cooker designer and professor at Algrave University in Portugal, was in Indore with Solar Cookers International (SCI) executive director Julie Greene in the run-up to the 6th SCI Conference scheduled in Vadodara from January 16-18.
A professor of mechanical engineering, Celestino told TOI that the climates of Portugal and India are quite hot and sunny almost throughout the year. Therefore there are huge possibilities of using solar energy as a major energy source. It could be used by industries by using large concentrators and the heat produced in such setups is at par with big furnaces. He said that apart from his job, he has been trying his hand at new innovations in solar cookers and he is the first to design a portable foldable cooker made of cardboard and aluminum foil. He has been globe trotting to sensitise people on depending less on bio-fuels and more on solar energy which is a renewable source.
He got inspired for this after reading about Padre Himalaya, a priest from a church in Portugal. He displayed the enormous power of solar energy at St Levis, USA in 1904 when he melted metals and stone by using an 80 square meter concentrator. Julie said that people from 133 countries have joined their movement to promote solar cookers. Parabolic and box type cookers are more popular in countries like India which are closer to the equator whereas panel cookers are popular in countries like the US. She said people are not ready to adopt this form of energy because of their mindset to get a feel of cooking where they stand beside the cooker, constantly stirring food in the pan.