Solar Chulha Challenge

The ONGC Solar Chulha Challenge was aimed at developing cost effective and efficient solar powered stove system in line with the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to touch people’s lives by providing them safe and low cost alternative for clean household cooking. This was a first-of-its-kind initiative taken up by any corporate to promote solar chulha in order to reach out to the last mile of society. The genesis of the challenge lay in the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s call given to ONGC to foster the development of ‘Efficient Electric Chulha (Stove)’ that can provide smoke-free kitchen to the mothers in each and every part of the country, while inaugurating ONGC’s Corporate Office Deendayal Urja Bhawan in September 2017.

Answering the call, ONGC had launched a nationwide challenge for which it received an overwhelming response with over 1500 applications. An Expert Panel of Scientists & Industry Experts headed by Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission evaluated the applications. Thirteen applications were shortlisted by the panel during their 1st meeting on 6th January 2018. These teams were then invited to present their proposals to the Expert Panel during its 2nd Meeting on 24 February 2018 at Mumbai, after which the panel selected the finalists with proposals from both Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal based systems.

Five finalist teams of the ONGC Solar Chulha Challenge, representing both academia as well as industry, displayed their functional solar chulha prototypes in an exhibition organized at ONGC Corporate Office at Vasant Kunj New Delhi from 23rd to 24th April 2018. Hon’ble Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship attended the ‘ONGC Solar Chulha Challenge’ exhibition and interacted with the participants to understand the technology and showed keen interest in the innovations that the participants exhibited. Hon’ble Minister also felicitated the prize winners.


ONGC Solar Chulha Challenge Winners
Prize Application no. Team Details Prize Money
1 101382 Team IIT Bombay Rs 10 Lakhs
2 101391 Team BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore & Nuetech Solar Systems Pvt Ltd, Bangalore Rs 5 Lakhs
3 101186 Team NIT Kurukshetra Rs 3 Lakhs
Appreciation Awards
Application no. Team Details Appreciation Prize
100710 Team ISRO, Trivandrum Rs 1 Lakh
100386 Team Smith Innovative Appliances Pvt Ltd, Kolkata Rs 1 Lakh




ONGC announced a Rs 100 crore Start-up fund on its 60th foundation day, i.e. on 14th August 2016 to foster, nurture and incubate new ideas related to energy sector. The initiative, christened as ‘ONGC Start-up Fund’, is in line with the ‘Start-up India’ initiative launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on January 16, 2016.

‘ONGC Start-up Fund’ shall cater to start-ups in the “Energy Sector” and will provide the entire support chain including seed capital, hand-holding, mentoring, market linkage and follow-ups. The aim of ‘ONGC Start-up Fund’ is to increase the contribution of fresh implementable ideas in the oil and gas sector by creating an ecosystem that is conducive for promoting innovation and growth of the startups.

On the occasion of Pd. Deendayal Upadhyay's birth anniversary on 25th September 2017, Hon’ble Prime Minister has exhorted ONGC to take up a challenge to work towards making an "efficient electric chulha (stove)", which would enable cooking using the solar power (the text of the Ho’ble PM speech is placed at Annex. 1). Inspired by the words of Honble Prime Minister, ONGC is launching a public innovation challenge to seek innovative solutions for development of Solar Chulha.

About ONGC

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) is the flagship National Oil Company of India, a ‘Maharatna’, with interests in E&P, Refining, LNG, Power, Petrochemicals & New sources of energy. It has been reliable energy solution provider for the country for more than six decades now. Pursuing the vision to be global leader in integrated energy business through sustainable growth, knowledge excellence and exemplary governance practices, ONGC today holds leadership position in several aspects of its business amongst international companies. 

Need for a Solar Chulha

About 700 million people in India live in households that cook every day with simple chulhas using locally gathered biomass for fuel. This results in substantial air pollution exposures in and around the households but is also an important contributor to outdoor air pollution- estimated to be responsible for more than 25% of the country’s outdoor air pollution. These exposures are estimate to result in the premature death of more than 8 lakh Indians each year, with the greatest risk for women and young children. In addition, gathering biomass fuel often requires many hours per week that could be put to more productive activities and in some parts of the country contributes to land degradation and deforestation.

Approaches to clean household cooking are thus urgently needed to supplement the promotion of LPG now occurring nationally so that everyone can benefit. Fully extending grid electrification, as is planned by the GOI, offers one option in conjunction with solar supplementation to avoid stress on the grid from cooking, which occurs daily at the same time in most communities. This can only happen, however, if appropriate solar-powered electric cook stoves with battery support can be developed. They can be used in a stand- alone form if no grid electricity is available, or in a hybrid form to supplement power coming through electrification schemes.
Solar cooking involves converting and controlling the sun’s heat and light energy on site to cook food. Being clean and not requiring the gathering or purchase of fuel, solar energy also has the attractions of being renewable and locally available. The main disadvantage of past solar cooking techniques is that they have no ability to store energy and most households are not able or willing to cook when the sun is high in the sky, when the devices can provide sufficient power for important cooking tasks. Solar energy storage in the form of steam or hot oil is used for institutional cooking in India, for example in ashrams or schools, but is too expensive and complex for households.

Another means to capture solar energy is by photovoltaic cells with the electricity stored in batteries. It is growingly popular in India where PV panels are used for lighting, moving fans, charging cell phones, and even for running TVs and radios, etc.

Uncommon, however, even though electric induction cook stoves have become efficient and relatively inexpensive and the cost of PV panels has greatly decreased in recent years. The main barrier at present is the cost and lifetime of available batteries to provide the approximate 3 kWh of storage required to cook both evening and morning meals in a typical household (including losses and allowance for bad weather) after the sun becomes low in the afternoon and before it becomes high enough in the morning.

Driven by the automobile industry, however, the performance/ cost ratio of batteries has been increasing rapidly in recent years. The media reported earlier this year, for example, that Tesla batteries will soon cost USD 125/kWh (https:/ battery-cost-gigafactory-model-3/) which would seem to bring the primary costs of a PV-powered induction stove system into a feasible range, but of course for a different application.

ONGC Innovation Challenge – Solar Chulha

ONGC is organising a challenge to develop at reasonable cost an effective and versatile solar-powered stove system that

  • Cooks both at night and during the day,
  • Can be used for all cooking processes (boiling, steaming, frying),
  • Is safe and easy to use,
  • Is built with materials that are available easily and can be disposed of safely,
  • Can be mass produced to achieve good quality control and economies of scale, and
  • Can be used independently or in conjunction with some power from the grid.

The deliverables and boundary conditions of the proposed challenge are as follows:

Description of the Solar Chulha Challenge

ONGC invites Entrepreneurs/Scientists/Researchers (as individuals or in groups) with interest in innovation, to participate in the Indigenous Development effort on Design, Development and Demonstration of Solar Chulha, suitable for indoor cooking of Indian food (including frying, baking and chapati making).

1. The broad performance features expected from Solar Chula among other things include:

  • Solar Chulha should work on solar energy (solar thermal or PV) or any other renewable energy as source of energy which can be easily accessed or made available in any house hold kitchen.
  • It should be possible to keep the chulha all time inside the kitchen for cooking purposes (including frying, baking and chapati making), similar to traditional commercially available cook stoves which work on LPG or other fuels.
  • It should be possible to use the Solar chulha on need basis any time during the day/night (24X7) basis.
  • It should be suitable for built up of materials which are easily available and can be disposed safely and can be mass produced with economies of scale.
  • It can be used independently or in conjunction with the grid, as the case may be.
  • The solar chulha must meet safety requirements for use in any house hold.
  • It should be able to provide sufficient meals for a family of five. During the night time it will work on stored energy with energy storage, having a life of around 2500 cycles.

2. The estimated cost of the solar chulha along with the energy source preferably not exceed Rs. 10,000/- per unit. ( For a volume of few lac units).


1. The Challenge is open to Entrepreneurs/Scientists/Researchers (as individuals or in groups) with interest in innovation.

2. The following persons and their immediate relatives cannot participate in the Challenge:

  • An employee of ONGC directly involved in execution and evaluation of the Challenge.
  • A member of the Evaluation panel, Experts and Jury for the Challenge.

3. In addition, young students from academic and research institutions, can also participate through the 3rd National Competition 2017, on Design, Development and Demonstration of Solar Chulha, suitable for indoor cooking of Indian food (including frying, baking and chapati making), announced by  ONGC Energy Centre, which has been set up by ONGC to undertake or assist/collaborate in research for developing and/or improving the energy mediums  and sources, especially in clean and renewable energy options. (Please see details at under News/Tenders/Advertisement tab - 3rd National Competition 2017).

Entry Submission

  • This Challenge is an online competition hosted at, for submission of description and documents of the original innovative solution, design, product, tool etc. for the challenge. The specific conditions and the boundary conditions for the challenge are listed above.
  • Those who are interested to take up this development, may please register with ONGC on latest by 1st December, 2017 as per the online application format (Part A) to be filled.
  • The shortlisted entrepreneurs/Scientists/Researchers for this challenge will be asked to demonstrate the Solar Chulha at New Delhi by end April 2018. They should submit their entries as per application format (PART B) by 15th April, 2018.
  • Participants are advised to fill the information specific to the fields and refrain from posting information not pertaining to the field or pertaining to any other field of the form.
  • For any additional information, the registered Participant will be contacted via email. Participants are advised to duly provide any additional information as instructed.
  • All correspondence shall be through email or SMS on mobile number provided by the participant at the time of registration. Organizers and ONGC are not liable in case of SMS/ email delivery failures.
  • Any clarification in this regard may be addressed to

Screening and Evaluation Process

A two stage Evaluation System shall be followed as per the evaluation matrix

Stage 1 10 entries shall be shortlisted by Expert Panel from all complete entries. However, the Expert Panel may select more entries, if found attractive.
Stage 2 The shortlisted entrepreneurs/Scientists/Researchers for this challenge will be asked to demonstrate the Solar Chulha at New Delhi by end April 2018.

The entries at Stage 1 shall be evaluated by Expert Panel of Domain Experts from ONGC and/or industry, in the identified challenge areas. At Stage 1 if no entry is found worth of consideration, in the listed challenge areas, the innovation challenge shall stand concluded.

Evaluation Matrix:

S. No. Parameter Weightage
1 Utility of solution 30%
2 Originality of Solution 15%
3 Compliance of Boundary Conditions/requirements 25%
4 Cost effectiveness 10%
5 Integration and Implementable  10%
6 Make in India 5%
7 Presentation Quality 5%


a. The following 3 prizes shall be awarded in each of the four identified challenge areas of Para 3

  • First Prize 10 Lacs
  • Second Prize 5 Lacs
  • Third Prize 3 Lacs

b. On successful demonstration and testing of performance of a few units, about 1000 units may be initially procured for demonstration in different regions.

c. ONGC may provide financial support for fabrication of 1000 units, from the start up fund set up by ONGC.

General Guidelines, Terms and Conditions : - Revised

  • Participant shall submit ideas/solutions/products owned by them or to which they have right to claim and use as owned by them. Suitable documents to this effect must be submitted along with the entry.
  • Participant shall ensure that any submission made in the Challenge does not violate any of theirs or any third party’s intellectual property rights, confidentiality, trade secret and violate any statutory provisions.
  • ONGC, its employees, members of Expert Panel and Innovation Committee shall in no event be liable for any violation of IPR, or license or permits etc. required from third party.
  • Participants whose applications are awarded prize money shall not assign any rights, obligations or privileges hereunder without the prior written consent of Organizers of the Challenge.
  • ONGC / Organizers do not claim ownership over the applications submitted or any newly developed IP. However ONGC shall have absolute discretion to ask the prize winning participants to assign to ONGC and / or its affiliates / ministries a transferable, worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, fully paid-up license under all Participant’s intellectual property rights in the applications submitted, Participant’s Newly Developed IP and Participant’s Background IP. Winning participant shall be entitled to receive Prize money only upon giving such rights to ONGC as aforesaid.
  • ONGC, members of Expert Panel, Selected Jury, supporting organizations or any employee or agent shall not be liable for any costs incurred or loss or liability or loss in expectation of profits or loss due to failure of understanding the terms and conditions of the Challenge or of any expected benefit of the participant in relation to entry and submission in the Challenge.
  • ONGC shall make reasonable efforts to maintain confidentiality and will not sign any Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with Participants.
  • By way of selecting the entries for evaluation at any Stage or for Final Award, Participants shall not be entitled to claim or have got endorsement from ONGC of any sort whatsoever, or have earned approval of any sort whatsoever of ONGC, for use in any form whatsoever anywhere in the Industry. Also, such Participants shall not be considered to have earned any qualification from ONGC for commercial transactions with ONGC.
  • At any Stage while evaluating the entries, ONGC shall be free to contact the Participants and carry out discussions on the matter submitted by the Participants for the purpose of understanding only. Any solicitation by participants in whatever form in respect of their entries shall not be entertained and entries of such participant shall be disqualified from the Innovation Challenge.
  • ONGC/Organisers may change the Terms and Conditions of participation at any time without prior notice. It shall be sole responsibility of the Participants to update themselves of information posted in the website from time to time. ONGC/Organisers may disqualify a Participants from the Challenge for breach of any of the conditions of this Challenge, or discontinue this Challenge.
  • In cases of any difference of views, decision of ONGC shall be final and binding. Disputes, if any, are subject to the jurisdiction in the courts of Delhi only.

Annexure 1

Hon’ble Prime Minister’s speech

Annexure 2