Originally posted by sonhouse
It's really odd seeing this story as if it was a brand new invention. I personally saw an identical product about 20 years ago at a children's science fair in Arizona and they were actually cooking food with it at the time. EXACTLY the same thing. What's up with that?
I haven't seen that design before. If you have, maybe you should find out who the organizers were and write to them. The news stories certainly seem to credit John Bohmer with inventing the box.
Solar cookers are a good idea, but it is not necessarily easy to get people to use them. They are only usable when the sun is fairly high up in the sky on a sunny day. So the user must plan ahead for supper etc. Also, not everybody likes to cook outside. For home users they would probably be most popular in the poorer areas of towns in Africa. In the villages there is no shortage of firewood but in towns the poorer people often do not have electricity and must buy either firewood or charcoal and would probably welcome a way to cook for free. They also would have less issues with cooking outside.
Where they are particularly useful however is for institutional cooking. A large solar cooker can cook a large pot of food just as well as an ordinary cooker and save a lot on electricity bills for institutions. My mum helped set up some for an orphanage run by the Rotary Club in Livingstone.