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Introduction to Solar Cooking

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Information about Introduction to Solar Cooking
Education

Published on January 11, 2008

Author: Michelangelo

Source: authorstream.com

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The Problem:  The Problem Half the world’s people must burn wood or dried dung to cook their food. Nearly 1.2 billion people, a fifth of the world’s population, do not have access to clean drinking water. Over 1 million children die yearly because of un-boiled drinking water. Wood cut for cooking purposes contributes to the 16 million hectares of forest destroyed annually. Half the world’s population is exposed to indoor air pollution, mainly the result of burning solid fuels for cooking and heating. “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait ‘til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Thomas Edison:  “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait ‘til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Thomas Edison Overview:  Overview Types of cookers Principles of solar cooker design Retained heat cooking Cooking guidelines Teaching ideas Examples Additional information and resources Types of solar ovens:  Types of solar ovens Box Cooker Panel Cooker Solar Funnel Cooker Parabolic Cooker - not recommended Box cooker:  Box cooker Among easiest and most popular to build and use Lid of a cardboard box reflects light onto pots under glass Advantage of slow, even cooking of large quantities of food Panel Cooker:  Panel Cooker Sunlight is reflected off of multiple panels onto a pot under a glass lid or in a bag Can be built quickly and at low cost Many different varieties Solar Funnel Cooker:  Solar Funnel Cooker Safe, inexpensive and easy to use Concentrates sunlight into a dark pot in a plastic bag Combines best of parabolic and box cookers Anyone can make one Parabolic Cooker:  Parabolic Cooker Highly focused light and high temperatures Cooks nearly as fast as a conventional oven Costly and complicated to make and use – have to turn frequently to follow the sun Potentially hazardous-not recommended The basic principles - C.A.R.E.S.:  The basic principles - C.A.R.E.S. Collect the light Absorb the light Retain the heat Ease and Efficiency Safety C: Collect the Light:  C: Collect the Light Collect the sunlight using reflectors with an approximately 400 square inch opening (20x20) Easy way to measure: the minimum opening of the cooker needs to be the diameter of an adult’s arm Reflective surface materials include: aluminum, Mylar, aluminized Mylar of any thickness, aluminum or chromium paint (Note: mirror like reflectors can lead to eye damage) A: Absorb the light:  A: Absorb the light Absorb the light – paint the pot matte black or another dark color to absorb the heat Pots can also be elevated by a wire base or posts, allowing the bottom of the pots to collect sunlight R: Retain the Heat:  R: Retain the Heat Retain the heat – hot vessels lose their heat to the air quickly so they need to be covered Cover with plastic, glass, Plexiglas, or tempered glass A tight lid will trap steam and speed up cooking Ex: Canning jars work like inexpensive pressure cookers R: Retain the Heat:  R: Retain the Heat A note on plastics Oven bags are the best way to retain heat. They are sold in most large U.S. grocery stores, although they may be hard to find in other places (Reynolds© bags work well) If you can’t find oven bags, an alternate solution is transparent High Density Polyethylene bags (HDPE) Prevent the HDPE bags from touching the pots or jars, as they may melt Avoid polyethylene – it melts too easily Good plastic may be the most difficult material to find, and may require extra planning, possibly including importing the oven bags E: Ease and Efficiency:  E: Ease and Efficiency Ease – simplicity of everyday use Funnel and box cookers are the easiest to use – they don’t have to be turned to follow the sun Efficiency - how fast the cooker heats food Parabolic cookers focus light to a point (most efficient) causing dangerous conditions Funnel cookers focus light across a broader area down the center of the cooker (efficient but not dangerous) S: Safety:  S: Safety Safety – Avoid highly focused light such as that in the parabolic cooker. It can damage eyes and start fires Always exercise caution with cookers. Sunglasses are useful when looking into a cooker Cooking pots are hot and should be treated as though they were on a stove-top Remember - C.A.R.E.S.:  Remember - C.A.R.E.S. Collect the light Absorb the light Retain the heat Ease and Efficiency Safety Retained Heat Cooking:  Retained Heat Cooking If sunlight is lost or multiple items need to be cooked, there is a solution Once the food is heated, quickly transfer to either: - an insulated box or set of towels, - or an insulated hole in the ground covered with more insulation The food will continue to cook for hours Temperatures:  Temperatures Sunny Day: heats from 130-145°C (265-300°F) Cloudy Day: heats from 95-105°C (200-220°F) Hot enough to pasteurize water (at least 65-70°C for 20 minutes) Hot enough to fully cook meats, breads, grains, vegetables, etc. Kills disease-causing bacteria Impact:  Impact Expect solar ovens to replace 60% of fuel needs in most places The other 40% of the time, due to inclement weather or special types of food, traditional methods can still be used Doesn’t replace fire as a way to heat homes Approximate Cooking Times:  Approximate Cooking Times Vegetables: 1.5 hrs Rice/wheat: 1.5-2 hrs Beans: 2-3 hrs Meats: 1-3 hrs Bread: 1-1.5 hrs See Recipe File for more details and cooking ideas Costs and benefits:  Costs and benefits Cost: approximately $2/cooker depending on location and availability of materials Materials include cardboard, aluminum foil, plastic bag, etc. See Building Instructions for more details and be creative Benefits Saves cost of fuel or time spent gathering wood Prevents diseases from impure water Ecologically friendly **Teaching Ideas**:  **Teaching Ideas** Give construction seminar Can accompany current educational programs such as hygiene, gardening, or English/literacy Takes as little as half a day training Train a group to teach others--little efforts can achieve large impacts Remember: Focus on training and sustainability rather than handouts Real World Examples:  Real World Examples Summer 2003 Fernando successfully taught solar cooking classes in northeast Brazil with Help International Four solar ovens transform a Chilean village (see packet) Microenterprise case study in packet Food for Thought:  Food for Thought Solar cookers can be a used for micro-enterprise and other business ventures: Build and sell cookers Cook and sell bread or other foods See packet for examples and suggestions Adapt to local cultures and customs BE CREATIVE and HAVE FUN!:  BE CREATIVE and HAVE FUN! You can improvise with most of the techniques and materials Remember the basic principles (CARES) and you can adjust for the skills and resources of those who will make and use the ovens Step-by-Step Instructions:  Step-by-Step Instructions Funnel Cooker Instructions included on this CD Box Cooker are at http://solarcooking.org/ in both the box cooker section and with pictures in the slide show For more construction ideas see Alternative Cookers PowerPoint also on this CD Additional Resources:  Additional Resources Recipe File on this CD Packet of articles also on this CD including Background information Case-studies Ideas for micro-enterprise Frequently Asked Questions Contact list of NGOs using solar technology Additional Resources:  Comprehensive Internet Site www.solarcooking.org For questions or feedback contact Dr. Steven Jones at Brigham Young University Email: stevejones@byu.edu Phone: (801) 422-2749 Additional Resources

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