Cardboard box wins UK green contest

Energy & Sustainability
Cardboard box wins UK green contest

Via SkyNews:

This is the £50,000 winner of a contest to find the world’s greenest invention – a solar-powered oven made from cardboard.

The cooker took the FT Climate Change Challenge crown after beating 300 other creations, including a food additive which stops cows passing wind.

The Kyoto Box oven – which costs just £3.50 to make – can cook casseroles, boil water and bake bread.

It is made from two boxes, one inside the other with an acrylic cover, which lets the sun’s power in and traps it.

Black paint on the inner box and silver foil on the outer help concentrate the heat while a layer of straw or newspaper between the two provides insulation.

Cardboard Oven Wins £50,000 Green Contest

16 thoughts on “Cardboard box wins UK green contest

  1. Gizmo says:

    “It is the brainchild of Kenya-based entrepreneur Jon Bøhmer.”

    I need to hold back my sarcasm. Can I look on the internet, copy something, and it is then attributed to me?

  2. Gareth Branwyn says:

    Yeah, wow. This is the same basic idea:

    But maybe, in his defense, that’s the magazine speaking and not him. I haven’t looked that deeply into his stuff, so I don’t know if he claims the box oven itself is his brainchild, or just the initiative to get these cheap, simple techs into the hands of those who can utilize it.

    His site is

  3. Anonymous says:

    I said this on Digg, and I’ll say it again here.
    This guy does not deserve this money. The Boy Scouts have been making solar ovens (more effective ones, I might add) since the invention of aluminum foil.

    In other articles, this guy said that he will use the prize money to “further develop” his design. Affordability, simplicity and availability of materials are the principal merits of a cardboard and aluminum foil solar oven. Now he plans to commission a mass production of specialized plastic versions of this? Please. It is patently clear that his motivations are not even remotely in alignment with the objectives of the group who awarded the prize. Rather than working on distributing plans and teaching people how to make them, or distributing already available materials (tons of cardboard is wasted every day), he will make them out of plastic and sell them as prefabbed units(likely at a high profit margin), the production of which will only exacerbate our atmospheric CO2 problem.

    By contrast, there were several other truly creative entries in the contest which WOULD have benefited from some capital investment, but will now probably be forgotten.

    As an aside, a quick glance at their website and materials shows Kyoto to be rather tech-savvy. Bearing in mind that they would not have won if it weren’t for the public vote, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if there were some mischief behind the voting.

  4. pat says:

    It’s so nice to see today’s youth interested in green science. Given, not the most original project I’ve seen, but it’s good for a middle school science fair.

    £50,000 ?

  5. Michael says:

    I built almost this exact design at least 15 years ago using a description in a magazine article. I love the idea of solar cooking and I’ve used the “cook kit” design many times, but I don’t understand all the attention this guy is getting for this.

    Here’s an article that mentions some of the prior examples of this design, though it still refers to him as an “inventor”.

  6. Cdreid says:

    Whoever held this “competition” obviously cares nothing about creativity, intellectual property, the environment, etc..etc etcc…

    People have been making solar cookers for probably hundreds of years at the very least. They were as another poster said staples of the boy scouts and Every single “projects for kids” book that has ever been written… so this guy “greens it up” by adding extremely ungreen lexan?

    Cant blame the guy for accepting the money. But the people who awarded it and held the contest are a joke. Things like this are why a lot of people dont even bother wasting time energy and money on these ‘contests’.

  7. Jae says:

    In my junior high engineering class. We all had to make the solar cooker oven. Box, Plexiglas, aluminum foil. This design has been around forever.

    Shame on them.

  8. Ovidiu says:

    This is a great victory for solar power research, in my opinion. We should all consider cooking with the sun. I personally run a blog on solar ovens and I know a lot about them, I know how efficient they are, you could cook the majority of the foods available today with one, and depending on the quality of the cooker, you reach the necessary temperature pretty fast. And above all, you help saving the planet!

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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