Solar Chulha Challenge


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

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:

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:

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