Solar cookers are an increasingly popular way for people to prepare food without using electricity. They can be used for a range of items, such as vegetables, meats and desserts.
Solar cookers come in many forms, but all involve capturing sunlight and converting it to heat. Unlike many modern stovetop and oven cooking methods, these methods don’t emit any greenhouse gases into the environment.
Solar cookers rely on the sun’s energy to heat a cooking pot or pan. Through three modes of energy transfer: conduction, convection or radiation, this energy is converted to heat through light’s interaction with the receiving material.
Reflectors are essential to maximize the amount of light reaching a cooking pan or pot. Mylar, an inexpensive reflective film available at home improvement stores, is often employed.
Wood is an ideal material for solar ovens due to its strength and ability to withstand the elements. Furthermore, wood reflects more light than aluminum while being more cost-effective.
Anyone with some basic tools and materials can construct a box cooker. Not only do these solar ovens consume low energy, but they’re also relatively straightforward to keep running.
Solar cookers come in various shapes, styles and sizes, but all work on the same basic principle. Generally, solar cookers consist of one or more boxes designed to trap heat generated by sunlight.
The box method is often the simplest and most economical solar cooker design. It consists of two medium-sized cardboard boxes with one to four reflective sides that angle sunlight into the container.
Some box designs feature a sheet of glass or other clear plastic over the top to trap more heat. A container filled with food inside the box absorbs this energy and cooks the contents accordingly.
Parabolic solar cookers direct the sun’s energy towards a single point and quickly heat the bottom of a pot to temperatures comparable to gas or charcoal grills. Unfortunately, they require special tools such as a parabolic dish, reflector and central receiver tower with the cooking pot placed at its focal point where sunlight is focused.
Solar cookers are devices that use sunlight to cook food. They can be divided into three categories: box cookers, panel cookers and parabolic cookers.
Box-type solar cookers use an insulated box to store heat energy from the sun. Once filled, it’s covered with a dark lid which retains heat and reflects it onto food items.
This type of cooker can be used for soups, casseroles, meats and desserts. The insulated box acts as an oven and stores a lot of heat; however it must not be overheated or the food may burn.
A parabolic solar cooker is one of the most efficient ways to capture solar energy. Its unique shape focuses all the light onto one focal point, making it incredibly efficient at using renewable resources.
Solar cooking is the practice of using sunlight as a source of heat energy. This energy can be employed for baking, boiling, grilling or pressure cooking.
Solar cooking relies on four basic principles: concentration of sunlight, conduction of light energy to a receiver material (the pot), absorption of heat by this receiver material, and insulation. When combined together, solar cookers can reach temperatures comparable to conventional ovens.
The most popular type of solar cooker is the panel cooker, which utilizes a reflective surface (usually Mylar or aluminum foil) to direct sunlight onto a black insulated cooking pot. Once covered with either clear plastic or glass, this container retains heat by being enclosed within an opaque plastic or glass cover.