Indigenous Suruí using the SOL5 & Dehydrator in the Amazon

Posted 19 January 2019 by Will Cleaver.

The first phase of our project in Brazil with Forest Trends to empower indigenous Suruí peoples with solar thermal energy shows a great success. Here are a few insights on this phase!

Local construction of the SOL5
One of our SOL5 designs is optimized for local construction. With help from a local metal shop in Cacoal we were able to fabricate the equipment in 3 weeks, including everything from sourcing materials, welding and installation of the SOL5.

One of the the reasons it’s easy to build a SOL5 and dehydrator or oven is that the materials needed are readily available almost all over the world.

We rented a space in a local metal shop, hired professional welding skills for some of the more complicated welding and painting works.

Soon enough it was time to bring the SOL5 and solar dehydrator application to their new indigenous Suruí users living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.

Construction of the SOL5 Solar Dehydration application.
The SOL5 can be built in a small space using simple, locally available tools and materials.
The new home of the SOL5 solar concentrator at the edge of the Amazon forest.
Together with the help of the Suruí, the SOL5 was quickly installed.

Forest Trends and the Suruí

This was all made possible by our partnership with Forest Trends, whom we partnered up with to get started with this project in Rondônia, Brazil.

Now the indigenous Suruí are dehydrating the Babassu Nut with the SOL5 Dehydrator, and the results are great: the SOL5 dehydrated the nuts in five and a half hours whereas before it took them 4 days to dry them on the ground under the sun.

The Babassu Nut in the tree.
The Babassu Nut shelled and de-shelled.
The Suruí de-shelling the Babassu Nut.

We look forward to continuing working with Forest Trends and the Suruí to scale up this success, build more SOL5 solar dehydrators for the Suruí peoples and others, and also diversify into solar ovens that they can use to bake goods with the sun for free; greatly augmenting their produce and making then more autonomous.

The SOL5 Dehydrator in use by the Suruí for Babassu Nut drying.

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