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Idlis Powered by The Sun? This Kerala Firm’s Awesome Innovation Makes Them!

The innovation found great appreciation during the ‘Akshay Urja Utsav’ conducted by the Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) last week in Thiruvananthapuram.

In a country like India, the potential of solar energy is so immense that if harnessed optimally, every energy-dependent sector would be able to minimise its fossil fuel consumption and as a result, keep its carbon footprint under check.

As more government agencies, religious and educational institutions, private organisations and even households are turning to the sun to meet their day-to-day energy requirements, the future of solar energy as a critical and sustainable energy source is indeed mushrooming.

Setting a great example in the hospitality sector are pilgrimage sites like Tirupati, Mount Abu and Shirdi, where the implementation of mega-scale solar steam cooking systems is helping feed thousands of pilgrims and tourists who visit these places on a daily basis.

Now, if one could reduce the scale of these systems and introduce it as a small cooking range, we could start preparing meals using solar energy and turn to gas cylinders or induction wares only as a backup!

To think of it, imagine piping hot, fluffy idlis which have been steamed by the sun!

Idli, anyone? Source: Pexels.

Well, a Kerala-based firm that specialises in solar solutions has devised a contraption that utilises solar energy to cook idli and other steamed food items! Based in Kochi, Kraftwork Solar manufactures a variety of solar-powered products such as water heaters, dryers and photovoltaic (PV) systems and has been in the solar industry for two decades.

The innovation found great appreciation during the ‘Akshay Urja Utsav’ conducted by the Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) last week in Thiruvananthapuram where similar solar and renewable energy harnessing innovations were exhibited.

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“It works on the same principle as that of the steam cooking system implemented in the Tirupati temple, and we only scaled down the solar component here. The steamers, which are connected to the ‘idli oven’, are powered by parabolic reflectors that direct sunlight to a small area, to generate steam for cooking. The device can reach a temperature of 130° Celsius, and one can even heat oil using it,” says KN Iyer, the managing director of Kraftwork to The Better India.

Developed over a year through research and development conducted by the firm, the idea of the solar-powered cooker was construed as an intermediate that can cater to small-scale population—like schools or canteens.

The steam cooking and idly making machine. Courtesy: Kraftwork Solar.
The equipment inside kitchen usually works on small gas-fired boiler, which is coupled with the solar steam generator to save the fuel while cooking on daytime. Courtesy: Kraftwork Solar.

“More than households where breakfasts are prepared much before the sun is out, our focus is on small institutions where meal preparations are undertaken between 9 am and 2 pm. This could help such institutions cut down on traditional boilers, which can be used as a backup option,” explains Iyer.

Kraftwork is among various firms that have been empanelled by ANERT under its ‘Go Solar’ initiative, where it envisions the entry of more solar-powered home appliances and other energy-efficient utilities in the market.

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The design of the cooker is currently awaiting approval from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). “The research and development is still going on. We are in talks with both ANERT and MNRE for the solar idli cookers to be made available at a lower subsidy,” Iyer adds.

To know more about Kraftwork Solar’s entire product range, click here. You can write to them at info@kraftworksolar.com.

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.