Jumat, 09 Januari 2009

Physics Teacher Invents Solar Stove

A devout Muslim with a trim mustache and chin beard, Ardani is a modest man who always has a big grin on his face.

Born in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, on Nov. 17, 1968, Ardani spent his primary and secondary school years in his hometown.

In 1989, he moved to Palu, Central Sulawesi, where he studied physics at the School of Pedagogy and Teachers Training of Tadulako University (Untad).

Following graduation in 1995, he became a physics teacher at SMAN 6 Palu state senior high.

Today, he is also known as the inventor of a solar stove.

Ardani had already demonstrated his talent in science and technology at Untad, which he attended on a civil service scholarship. His undergraduate thesis received commendations from most of his lecturers, and he created an anti-theft device for motorbikes via the vehicle’s electrical current.

”If anybody attempts to steal a motorbike fitted with this device by dismantling the ignition, he will fail, because as soon as he turns it on the engine will stall and an alarm will be triggered,” Ardani told The Jakarta Post.

But that was an undergraduate achievement.

As a teacher, he has made another innovation by building a large stove using solar energy – he simply calls it a giant solar stove.

“I’ve made good friends with the sun. I’m not bothered by its intense heat,” he grinned.

Ardani’s giant stove was inspired by the prevailing energy crisis and high fuel prices. With the assistance of several students, he began his experiment in mid-March.

He took a used parabolic antenna measuring 1.5 meters in diameter and fitted it with reflective panels measuring 16 square centimeters to harness the solar energy.

How does it work? Ardani replied that the solar stove is installed in an open space under direct sunlight with an iron cooking pot or pan placed above it.

The distance between the stove and the cooking container should be around 1.3 centimeters. The heat produced by the solar stove in a tropical climate, according to Ardani, can reach up to 400 degrees Centigrade. He is continuing his research to create an apparatus for storing heat for use in milder climates.

“So even if it rains, the stove can be used,” he said.

As for the price of the giant solar stove, which can be used by five households, Ardani said it would cost only about Rp 2 million (US$216).

Cooking with the solar stove takes less time while pots and pans won’t get sooty as they might with kerosene stoves. At the same time, households would also save on fuel costs, as this stove is powered naturally by the sun.

Aside from his teaching, research and innovations, Ardani is also active as a mechanical and technical handyman.

“Some of my friends usually want to repair their refrigerators, motorbikes or TV sets and seek my service. And I get paid for that as it’s also a job,” he said.

Currently, Ardani is considering develoing his giant solar stove s to make it more practical, easily installed and portable.

“It should be a practical cooking device that is free from carbon (fossil) fuels,” he said.


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