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The Problem

Half the worlds people must burn wood or dried dung to cook their food. Nearly 1.2 billion people, a fifth of the worlds 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 worlds population is exposed to indoor air pollution, mainly the result of burning solid fuels for cooking and heating.

Id put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we dont have to wait til oil and coal run out before we tackle that. Thomas Edison

Types of cookers Principles of solar cooker design Retained heat cooking Cooking guidelines Teaching ideas Examples Additional information and resources

Types of solar ovens

Box Cooker Panel Cooker Solar Funnel Cooker Parabolic Cooker - not recommended

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

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

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

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. Collect the light Absorb the light Retain the heat
Ease and Efficiency


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 adults 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

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

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

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 cant 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

R: Retain the Heat

E: Ease and Efficiency

Ease simplicity of everyday use
Funnel and box cookers are the easiest to use they dont 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
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. Collect the light Absorb the light Retain the heat
Ease and Efficiency


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

Sunny Day: heats from 130-145C (265-300F) Cloudy Day: heats from 95-105C (200-220F) Hot enough to pasteurize water (at least 65-70C for 20 minutes) Hot enough to fully cook meats, breads, grains, vegetables, etc. Kills disease-causing bacteria

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 Doesnt replace fire as a way to heat homes

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

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**
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

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

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


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
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
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