In August 2019, we travelled to the unelectrified village of Agbokpa, Ghana to test out our ISEC in real world conditions and acquire personal feedback from real intended users. In surveying this village, we found that all households used biomass cooking either indoors or outdoors, sometimes using up significant quantities of biomass daily, resulting in a large monthly expense. We noticed that predominately women and children spent their time in close proximities to the fires and smoke, which we presume to negatively affect their respiratory health. From our US lab, we brought several ISECs, and basic materials to build more cookers; we sourced the other materials and solar panels in country. Everyday staples include soup, rice, and beans, which are able to slow cook throughout the day at a low power without burning. Even though optimal sun intensity is not available towards the end of the day near dinnertime, the insulation allows energy to be stored and minimally lost so that the food is still hot during dinnertime. One double walled ISEC pot had a phase change thermal storage material between the double walled insulation, allowing the cooker to store heat rather than directly the food. This thermal storage material greatly increased the maximum accessible energy during cooking and allowed the user to cook even after the panel stops supplying power. For 3 weeks, we demonstrated our technology to the people of Agbokpa and had a few of them use the cookers to cook local dishes. The users were able to use the cookers with ease because of their similarity to traditional cooking methods. After 2 weeks, the users were able to set up the cooking system (cooker and solar panel connection) themselves without our assistance and fully use them. In order to continue collecting information on field use and because of ease of adaption, we chose 2 Ghanaians to keep our cookers to use and regularly send updates and feedback.
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