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Posts Tagged ‘autoclave’

I’ve really gotten to like the Science section of the NY Times, which comes out on Tuesdays. Today Donald G.McNeil wrote about a solar-powered gizmo for sterilizing surgical instruments in rural areas that can’t afford autoclaves.

“A Rice University team recently modified a prototype of an old solar stove to power a simple autoclave, which is a pressure-cooker for instruments, and tested it in the Texas sun.

“On all 27 attempts, it reached United States government sterilization standards.

“How practical it is awaits African trials; it is nearly 12 feet long and 6 feet tall and has bright curved mirrors to focus sunlight on a water-filled pipe. On sunny  … days, it can make steam at 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit) from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Douglas A. Schuler  … a Rice business professor and lead author of the study, published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, said he ‘married into the project.’ His French father-in-law designed the solar stove years ago after a student trip to West Africa. But women in Haiti, where they tested it, ‘just hated cooking on it,’ Dr. Schuler said, so they found a different use for it.

“The initial setup costs about $2,100. But sunlight costs nothing, making five years of operation about $2,000 cheaper than using propane.”  More.:

Photograph: Jeff Fitlow

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