Solar Cooker is a device that cooks, bakes food, pasteurizes and provides hot water for shower using the heat of the sun. It was invented by a Swiss man named Horace de Saussure in 1776 and since then had been used effectively in many third world countries. This is a cooking device where the cost of fuel is zero courtesy of the sun.
Functions and types available:
Solar oven is designed to cook food by using sunlight and reflective materials to generate heat. The infrared and ultraviolet light waves from the sun carry heat and if continually trapped in a small space can rise the temperature and cook many types of food.
There are three basic types of solar cookers:
1. 1. The box design which is simply a box set with a transparent lid that allows sunlight to enter. The inside walls of the box are lined with reflective material that concentrates the light and heat the air inside
2. The panel cooker uses a more complicated design with panels built to focus the sun's light on a particular spot.
3. 3. The most advanced forms of solar ovens are parabolic cookers, which use convex dishes to gather and concentrate heat even more.
Solar cookers can be purchased, or constructed using basic materials like aluminum foil, mirrors, cardboard, and plywood. Box cookers can be made by anyone, while some advanced panel and parabolic cookers require more advanced technical skills.
Benefits and advantages:
Solar ovens are suited in areas where electricity is not available and ideal for people who want to save. The number of voluntary groups working to spread solar cooking grows every year. Solar cookers have been proven to be safe and effective under the proper conditions.
The non-profit organization Solar Cookers International (SCI) targets the developing countries to adopt solar because of its positive impact on the economy, health and the environment in these nations.
SCI reports that there are over 500,000 cookers used in India and China and thousands more in refugee camps in Chad. They also reported that 10,000 Kenyan families were using solar ovens in mid-2006.
Disadvantages and problems:
1. They can only be used where there is adequate sunshine for a specific amount of time.
2. Food in a single-reflector box cooker will take about twice as long as in a conventional oven. When the time required to obtaining fuel wood and tending the fire are considered, solar ovens usually demand less of the cook’s time. Also, since food very seldom burns in a box cooker, the cook does not have to watch or stir the food.
3. Solar cookers are not well known in many areas. In some where it is promoted, adoption of solar cooking does take place.
It is a wise move to make solar cooking known, available and affordable in places where climates are appropriate and, where people are having problems and difficulties in cooking. While solar cookers are very useful, there are other practical applications suitable for third world countries.
Please visit our Informative Solar Article page for more practical tips, simplified application guide and established solar benefits.
Jacinto Demonteverde, Jr., the owner, is a strong advocate of solar power adoption. He writes practical articles to keep established and prospective solar users well informed. Visit him at: http://www.justsolarhome.blogspot.com. You are welcome to republish or reprint this article free of charge provided the content remains unchanged including the Author’s Box. No permission is needed