Dr Stirling Howieson's Sunstore solar power unit wins international award

Dr Stirling Howieson of the Department of Architecture was awarded the Grand Prix and Gold Medal by the Association of European Inventors at the 47th Salon International des Inventions, for his micro solar combined heat and power unit for off-grid communities.  The awards took place at the Palexpo Exhibition Halls Geneva, Switzerland, 9-14 Apr 2019

Sunstore adds this to their national awards:


Ms Helen Anderson (head of Water Aid Scotland) presented the VIBES ‘Hydro Nation Challenge’ 2016 award to the CEO of Sunstore Technologies Ltd., Dr Stirling Howieson of the Department of Architecture, at a ceremony on the 8th November 2016, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow.

Sunstore Technologies Ltd is a Scottish based spin-out company from the University’s Faculty of Engineering, in which Dr Howieson has developed a micro-combined heat and power unit that provides ‘in symbiotic combination’, electricity, sterilised water and food processing which could be of enormous benefit to the off-grid communities in Africa and India.

Dr Howieson says Sunstore’s mission is ”…feeding people and providing them with clean drinking water, while saving forests. An efficient solar oven storing the day’s energy will also free women from biomass collection and its use reduces polluting CO2 smoke emissions, providing ecological nutrition.”

The VIBES Awards are presented by a partnership between; The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), The Scottish Government, The Energy Saving Trust, Highland & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Water, Zero Waste Scotland and the 20:20 Climate Group. VIBES awards are also supported by CBI Scotland, The Institute of Directors, The Federation of Small Businesses Bright Green Business and Quality Scotland.

Stirling’s project was also a winner in the 2015 Scottish Edge Wild Card competition, the category where judges award entrepreneurs showing most innovation, potential and ‘wow factor’.


A developing market in solar cookers has produced many devices able to provide sufficient solar gain to cook small amounts at mid-day. However, the key task is to provide a hot evening meal at around 9.00pm for a large family - and the Sunstore range meets this challenge.

The thermo-electric solar oven tracks the sun’s rays daily, storing the power. It is then capable of providing evening food processing for 50 persons, 50 litres of sterilised/desalinated water and enough electricity for 50 LED lamps for 5 hours each night. By storing up to 6kWh of power in an insulated metal thermal mass, it has the capacity to cook between 5 – 30kg of rice that can be served piping hot - up to 5 hours after darkness falls. The ovens are designed to be loaded with ingredients in the morning left to cook slowly over 8 hours. This maintains the nutritional value of the food, produces no air pollution and does not require the family to spend many hours collecting firewood. The Sunstore device also has the facility to be converted into an LPG/biomass hybrid appropriate for regions where monsoon conditions reduce seasonal solar gain.

Sunstore Technologies Ltd will license the product to companies with the capacity to manufacture, assemble, distribute and market them. The company will concentrate on product development, marketing and identifying suitable international partners.

This product is simple, robust, safe to use and requires little maintenance. It satisfies a basic need while increasing the potential for human productivity.


Scottish Edge is a funding competition aimed at identifying Scotland’s top early stage and high growth potential entrepreneurs. Sunstore Technologies Ltd won the 2015 Wild Card Award. The award provides development funding grants and business mentoring support to circa 20 companies selected by a panel from this years' 275 entrants.

The Award was presented to Stirling by Lord Haughey (photograph below).

Stirling Howieson Scot Edge Wild Card Award