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Luther Krueger: “Goldilocks Tech? A Solar Oven Overview”

April 18, 2024

(Conversation recorded on March 13th, 2024)

Show Summary

On this episode, Nate is joined by Solar Oven collector and educator Luther Krueger to discuss the ins and outs of solar cooking. In the western world, most of us are used to indoor, gas or electric stoves, typically powered by fossil fuels, and in a third of the world, people are still using solid fuels – wood, coal, or dung – which come with many health and environmental risks. Solar ovens are an alternative which makes use of passive solar energy at a range of temperatures and can be made from basic or reused materials. What would it take on a cultural and economic level for more people to adopt these low-tech solutions? How can solar cooker designs vary to match the needs of the individual and community in varying environmental conditions? Could we take inspiration from this example of Goldilocks Technology for other areas of our lives in a slower, lower-energy throughput future?

About Luther Krueger

Since 2004 Luther Krueger has been collecting unique classic and contemporary solar cookers and promoting solar cooking as the means to halt deforestation, clean unsafe drinking water in remote areas of developing countries, and reducing any community’s dependence on fossil fuel. Krueger’s unincorporated, volunteer-run Big Blue Sun Museum of Solar Cooking aims to preserve the history of solar cooking while promoting the practice through the video series on the Museum’s youtube channel and as contributing moderator to the Solar Cookers World Network on social media and by promoting solar cooking at regional events. Krueger is a Senior Community Faculty member at Metropolitan State University where he teaches the Capstone course for the Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration degree program. Krueger retired from the Minneapolis Police Department in 2023 after twenty-eight years as a civilian community liaison and crime analyst, where he developed and launched several community policing initiatives.

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Show Notes & Links to Learn More

00:00 – Luther Krueger Works and Info, Solar Cooker Wiki, Solar Cooking Museum Youtube

02:10 – Silent Spring Rachel Carson

05:07 – Percentage of Americans using gas vs electric stoves

05:45 – New York and California phase out of gas stoves

06:19 – Globally many still cook with wood fires coming with health and environmental effects

08:31 – Solar Cookers International

11:07 – Solar PV + cooking

15:26 – Box cookers, Panel cookers, Parabolics

16:42 – Kris De Decker, TGS Podcast Part 1 and Part 2

16:55 – Alexis Zeigler, Living Energy Farm

18:54 – Intermittence

19:21 – Hybrid cooker

20:40 – Haines Solar Cooker

24:45 – Juana María Hernández Jarquín

25:16 – Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center

26:50 – DIY Solar Cookers

28:36 – Ed Eaton

29:32 – Auroville, The Solar Kitchen

33:15 – Sunplicity

35:19 – SK14

36:25 – Bhutanese refugees to Nepal, Solar cooker aid

38:39 – Le Présage Solar Cooking Restaurant

40:38 – Collapsology

44:29 – GoSun Solar Cooker

46:03 – Fresnel Lens Solar

47:39 – Solar Education Project

49:01 – Know Watts Cooking – YouTube

52:10 – Chris Hackett, Obtainium

58:03 – Lucky Iron Fish

1:06:19 – Solar Oven Partners

1:07:50 – How a Young Activist Is Helping Pope Francis Battle Climate Change | The New Yorker

1:08:20 – Deepak Gadhia

1:10:15 – Tom Sponheim

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota.