Solar Cookers - Cook for Free !
What are Solar Cookers ?
Cook using Solar Energy - Cook with Solar Power for Free and Reduce your Energy Bills
Gas and electricity prices are going up yet again, but you can cook your food using nothing more than solar energy and a solar cooker. Once you have bought your solar cooker then there are no more costs involved ! No electricity, no gas, no wood. This excellent article was first published here - solar cookers
How Do Solar Cookers Work?
There are two varieties of solar cooker. The 'concentrating solar cookers' and the 'solar box cookers' (usually called solar ovens). You just set them, put your food inside and leave them out in the sun. You do need sunlight and you also have to point the cooker towards the sun but apart from that the cooker is more or less the same as any other cooker except it uses solar energy instead of gas, wood or electricity, so the cooking is free of charge courtesy of the Sun god !.
You also need to allow the time required for the sun to do its work, but this shouldn't be more than a few hours. So you put whatever it is you want to cook, in the oven, go away and come back a few hours later. Check out the videos below!
Solar Oven Video
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Solar Cookers = Free Energy
Another surprise is that solar cookers are not particulary new, the first ones were invented by Horace de Saussure from Switzerland back in 1767. So it is a little bit suprising that they aren't in more widespread use. According to the figures there are over 100,000 solar cookers in use in China and India. Cooking with a solar cooker takes around twice as long as with a conventional cooker and you may need to turn the cooker manually to follow the sun.
There are 'panel cookers', 'box cookers', 'parabolic cookers' and also 'solar kettles' if you want to heat up some water. One final neat trick - you can make your own solar cooker. It will cost you around $10 and all you need is some cardboard, glue, aluminum foil and paint - see this guy's site for the instructions - Make a Solar Cooker If you don't fancy making your own then you can buy solar cookers like this hotpot (around $119) from places like here - SCI
The basic principles of how solar cookers work are as follows - the inside of the box is heated by the sun. Sunlight, direct and reflected, enters the solar box through the glass or plastic top. This sunlight is transformed into heat energy when it is absorbed by the dark absorber plate and cooking pots. This heat causes the temperature inside the solar cooker to rise until the heat loss of the cooker is equal to the solar heat gain. It is not difficult to achieve temperatures sufficiently high for food to be cooked and water to be pasteurized.
Given two boxes that have the same heat retention capabilities, the one that has more gain, from stronger sunlight or additional sunlight via a reflector, will be hotter inside. Given two boxes that have equal heat gain, the one that has more heat retention capabilities - better insulated walls, bottom, and top - will reach a higher interior temperature.
After the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan many people are beginning to re-think their stand on nuclear power. Many countries have decided it might be a better idea to promote alternative forms of power such as solar power and many ordinary people have taken to buying geiger counter kits to detect radiation - so much so that there is now a waiting list of several months for any one wishing to buy one from some outlets.
All Season Solar Cooker
Three Types of Solar Cooker
Box cookers work at temperatures that are moderate to high. They can accommodate more than one pot. They are the most widely used around the world. There are several hundred thousand already in use in India alone.
Curved concentrator cookers
Curved concentrator or 'parabolic' cookers, cook faster at high temperatures, but they need to be adjusted frequently and need to be supervised to ensure safe operation. They are particularly useful for large-scale institutional cooking.
Panel cookers include elements of both box and curved concentrator cookers. They are simple and relatively inexpensive. The most widely-used panel cooker is Solar Cookers International's "CooKit".
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Solar cookers are discussed including those that uses boxes, panels, reflectors and heat absorbant black surfaces to cook food.
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