The three-year economic crisis in Lebanon has led to an alarming increase in the prices of basic foods such as bread. In an effort to reduce production costs and ultimately the cost to the consumer, inventor Toufic Hamdan has created a commercial bakery oven powered by solar heat. The solar-powered convection oven is designed to reach a baking temperature of around 300 degrees Celsius and uses a heat exchange mechanism that is currently under review for patent in the Netherlands.
Partners With Sun, a startup, has installed a solar power system consisting of large silver mirrors on the rooftop of a bakery in the Lebanese village of Remhala, south of Beirut. The mirrors capture the sun’s rays and magnify them to generate heat, which is then transported by a transfer fluid to help operate the convection oven. The oven is designed for industrial use in the baking industry, and is expected to save bakery owners about 80% of their monthly usage of diesel, which translates to a reduction in the price of bread for consumers.
The solar oven has already been tested by Al-Wissam bakery in Remhala, which reports a reduction in production costs and an improvement in the quality of bread. This innovative technology has several environmental benefits as well, as it uses clean, renewable energy and avoids the need for polluting fuel boilers.
Toufic Hamdan's vision is to bury the last boiler operating on diesel or electricity in food and beverage production by 2030. The solar oven is an example of how sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved through innovation and creative thinking. By reducing production costs and avoiding the use of polluting fuel boilers, the solar oven is helping to achieve a sustainable future for Lebanon's food industry, and ultimately for the global society.