Urbana, Ill. (WCIA)

Storyteller Erin Valle introduces us to Sun Buckets: a solar powered stove created by engineers at the University of Illinois.

The device is helping to address the global cooking crisis by providing a healthier, cost effective alternative to cooking with solid fuels.

After charging for an hour or two in the sun, Sun Buckets can reach a temperature of 600 degrees. The heat lasts about 5-6 hours, allowing families to cook to two full meals.

More from Sun Buckets:

Sun Buckets provide the first portable stored solar thermal energy source with temperatures similar to fire without the fuel, the fire, or the emissions. Over 700 million households in energy impoverished areas pay on average $150/year, 25% of their income, to cook using wood, charcoal, and animal dung. The emissions from these fires result in an estimated 4 million premature deaths a year and account for around 20% of global climate forcing. We recognize this is significant financial burden with tragic health impacts. At Sun Buckets, we are dedicated to solving this problem.

Sun Buckets has worked with humanitarian organizations in Kenya, Haiti, India, and beyond. To connect with them, you can visit the Sun Buckets website HERE.