NEW DELHI: Amid rising LPG prices, oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday unveiled a solar-electric indoor cooking stove developed by state-run IndianOil, a device that has the potential to reduce household fuel bill and the government’s subsidy outgo but the initial price may be a dampener.
Named ‘Surya Nutan’ — which takes off from a brand name synonymous with kerosene stoves in the 70s — the new device uses a solar thermal battery that gets charged by a outdoor solar panel.
Solar thermal batteries produce heat unlike solar storage batteries that produce electricity. The solar stove can also be charged from a household socket during cloudy weather.
Puri demonstrated the stove’s prowess by cooking dessert and serving a meal of rice, chapati, daal, paneer and suji halwa to rural development minister Giriraj Singh and assorted guests at his residence.
He said it would take 2-3 months for the commercial launch and the cost can come down further if it generates enough demand.
But pricing remains an issue. IndianOil director (R&D) SSV Ramakumar said the current costs of Rs 18,000 to Rs 30,000, depending upon size, can come down to Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 a unit if 2-3 lakh pieces are manufactured.
IOC chairman S M Vaidya said the company may manufacture the stoves on its own or could go for contract manufacturing.
The stove has a 10-year life with no maintenance. It does not have a traditional battery that needs replacement. Also, the solar panel has a 25-year life. It can be used for the full range of cooking – boiling, steaming, frying and cooking roti.
Ramkumar said one kg of LPG saved using the stove will mitigate 3 units of CO2 emission,” he said, adding prototypes is being tested in 60 locations, including Ladakh, where solar intensity is very high.