Solar Cookers & Ovens
Cooking food with energy provided
by the sun can be a fun camping trick or an absolute necessity.
In arid regions of the world where little natural combustible
material exists, solar cookers provide a means to safely heat food &
sterilize water. Their use produces no carbon monoxide or
ashes, require nothing flammable for temperature and typically are
even save to touch while in use.
There are many different types
and designs of solar cookers. Typically, the more complex and
advanced the design the higher performance can be expected. It
is however, very easy to make a simple one out of everyday materials
like a cardboard box and tinfoil. Often times high school
science experiments will entail dabbling with solar cookers created in
class. Regardless of the complexity, all of the methods do
basically the same thing which is concentrate the suns rays to a
focal point or cooking area. The sunlight can be focused using
flat reflective panels, parabolic (curved) surfaces or a combination
of methods. Solar ovens use glass or plastic in order to
capture the heat produced by the reflective surfaces and maintain it
within the device.
Food prepared using solar energy
will require more time than if you were utilizing your stove at
home. The temperatures achieved with a solar oven will usually
reach a maximum of 400 degrees in optimal conditions. (think Death
Valley at high noon) The lower temperatures are combated
simply by cutting up food into smaller pieces prior to cooking and
allowing it to cook for a longer period of time. A couple of
the benefits are that cooking doesn't need to be closely supervised,
doesn't require a finite fuel source and can be accomplished most
anywhere there is sunlight. Another great benefit, if you are
anything like me, is that it is nearly impossible to burn the food!
Here is an informative Wikipedia
You can find a ton of different
free solar cooker designs by using
image search, or you can purchase one of the professionally
assembled units below.
Visit the DIY Solar
Projects page if your looking to build a really cool & advanced solar oven
with sun tracking. The link includes plans and part list
required to do it yourself.