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Benefits of Cooking with Solar Cooking Ovens and Stoves

Updated on June 13, 2011

Solar Box Cooker

Box Cookers are the most practical types of Solar Cookers and Ovens.
Box Cookers are the most practical types of Solar Cookers and Ovens.

Apart from the interesting concept cooking with the heat of the Sun; Solar Ovens, Cookers and Stoves, are unique in that one do not have to worry about the ever increasing cost of fuel. But the benefits also spread to other areas that are of great importance in our Modern World; so that, it couldn't be more interesting and tempting to have your own.

Note: Solar Cookers, Ovens and Stoves; will be regarded as Ovens in most part of this Article.

How solar oven works

Solar Ovens works by the principle of heat transfer. The three popular mode of transfer (conduction, convection and radiation) are combined to utilise the heat from the sun for cooking. Radiant rays from the sun are reflected by means of a polished surface or mirrors unto a black conductor which initially absorbs and gradually release the heat for heating. In the case of the solar Box Cookers, Heat is intentionally trapped between two surfaces of good and poor conductors in transparent chambers. Air inside the system helps to redistribute the heat around the cooking Vessel.

Types of solar cookers

There are three known types of solar cookers. They are:

• Box Cookers

• Curved Concentrators

• Panel Cookers

Box Cookers - These are the most popular and developed type of Solar cookers. Though known to cook more slowly than normal cookers, recent models are made in their fassion because they are the only type that can be costructed to meet portability and convinience. They are divided into two regions: Sun reflecting top and heat absorbing bottom. The two regions are separated by a transparent or glass material that allow the rays of the sun from the top to penetrate into the bottom.

The reflecting top can be made of glass, alluminium foils or other shiny silver coated materials, arranged four-sidedly around the bottom box.

The inner part of the bottom box is either painted black or made with reflecting surfaces.What ever is the case, the cooking pot or any other cooking device used is painted or made white so that it could absorb the heat. But there is also a double wall and lagging system around the Box which prevents the heat from escaping.

Curved Concentrators - This is by far the most effective of all the three types if the speed of cooking is to be considerd. It is said that they can heat food at a temperature comparable to normal cooking stoves.

Curved concentrators are sattelite-dish shaped converging lenses that concentrate the heat of sun rays at a focal point where the cooking pot or kettle is placed. The cooking utensils are usually suspended at their positions so that the system is adjusted to follow the path of the Sun.

Panel Cookers - These are the most primitive of the three types of solar cookers. They are also the most easy and cheapest to construct type, so that various forms are being made with locally available materials in Africa, Asia and South America. Cooking materials are usually place inside a transparent plastic bag that should prevent the heat from escaping. But care should be taken to avoid melting the bag by preventing the cooking material from tourching the bag. It is being estimated that the cost of producing one can hover around five dollars.

You can order your own Hybrid Solar Oven and Cooker from any of the two brands here:

Hybrid solar cooking oven

The popular question that usually arise from depending on solar cookers is the reality that it cannot be used during the night and days with very low sunlight intensity. This is the reason why manufacturers came up with the Hybrid system. The system combines electricity with solar heat so that both can either function separately or the electric heating system can reinforce the small heat available in a less sunny day.

Apart from the Solar-Electric Hybrids that are available in the market today, a thermal fossil type can also be introduced. This will be more adaptable to developing countries where electricity is scarce. But the question of direct pollutionmay arise. Ideally, this shouldn't be the case because electricity generation process is usually ultimately traced back to a combustion process.

Hybrids consumes extra electric powers but they are estimated to save up to forty percent of Energy.

Advantages of solar ovens

Using direct heat from the sun to generate thermal energy is the most moral way of generating energy the World has ever known. But it does not stop at that. There are so many other advantages which you can find some here:

Adaptable to Developing Countries - This source of Energy do not have to be imported because raw materials are available even in very poor countries. The people can learn to manufacture locally to get there own energy autonomy.

Do not cause pollution or any Hazard - There are still accusations of possible pollution from the production process of photocells even though they are presently the front runners of all the energy friendly sources of energy available today.

No negative Health effect - It does not release or consume any by-product when being used. Neither does it require the input of hazardous materials for its construction. As such, no negative Health impact can be traced to this mode of cooking.

Easy to construct - Solar ovens and cookers are unlike photovoltaic cells that requires some technical expertise to put together. Anybody from any part of the world can learn to construct their own copy from common materials in their immediate vicinities. People have been reported to attach aluminium and cigarette foils to wooden boxes as reflectors.

Do not require refuelling - The cost of fueling and refueling is either eradicated or minimised when Solar Cookers are used for cooking.

Prevents Deforestation - Countries in Africa, Asia and South America where firewood is used as cooking fuel are being thought how to make and use Solar Cookers. This can reduce the pressure on the forest where so many trees are being felled for wood.

Conflict Prevention - The Social-political conflicts presently associated with the major sources of energy in the world today, can be reduced to a large extent when Solar Cookers are well entrenched into the society.

Zero Risk of Inferno - Explosions and accidents that are associated with cooking by other means are absent in this case because the nature of cooking with solar ovens requires that the food be prepared outside.

Questions on the effectiveness of Solar Cookers

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    • James Agbogun profile image

      James Agbogun 6 years ago

      Hello WillSteinmetz, that was a nice comment. Thanks

    • WillSteinmetz profile image

      WillSteinmetz 6 years ago

      Wow, nice idea. Great.

    • James Agbogun profile image

      James Agbogun 6 years ago

      @ phiphi, really appreciate your endorsement. I thank you!

    • James Agbogun profile image

      James Agbogun 6 years ago

      @ Deborah-Diane, there couldn't be anything more interesting than having your own solar cooker and watching it cook your food. Wishing you great experience.


    • phiphi profile image

      phiphi 6 years ago from USA

      Great idea of solar ovens great job vote up

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      Solar ovens are a fabulous idea. Great addition to my emergency kit.