The 3 types of Solar Cooker...
The Panel Solar Cooker uses reflective panels to focus sunlight onto a pot. These work best in tropical climates or in the warmer months when wind and heat loss are not an issue. An inexpensive, aluminized cardboard panel cooker can heat food up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. That is plenty since food starts to cook at 180 degrees F. Aluminum foil will work for a couple of weeks but after that the aluminum oxidizes and turns dark. The design shown (sold through Gaim $120) is made of polished aluminum and can heat foods to 350-400F on a sunny, warm day. Mo matter which type of solar cooker you use, always wear sunglasses!
Box Solar Cookers have an insulated box, topped with a transparent glass or plastic cover and a reflector or reflectors that help heat the box. Temperatures inside the box can reach 400 degrees F and cooking can be done almost unattended, like a slow cooker. This cooker is preferable to a parabolic if small children are around. The solar cooker box in the picture uses mylar on plastic flute board for the reflectors and the inside of the box is aluminum sheet metal. This model can be made at home. (See the youtube video at end of page.)
The Parabolic Solar Cooker (or Curved Concentrator solar cooker) concentrates the sun's heat onto the bottom or the sides of a pot -- similar to a stovetop. Temperature's can get so hot that you can fry food or pop popcorn. The advantages are speed and the potential to cook when it is cool outside. The disadvantages are safety concerns (as to eyes and children) and the need to stir the contents of the pot so the food does not stick, just like a stovetop. Temperatures can reach above 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the pot. The parabolic cooker might also need adjustment to keep it faced toward the sun.
More pictures of Panel cookers:
CooKits are produced independently in 25 countries from a wide variety of materials at a cost of $3 - $7 US.
If well maintained these aluminized panel cookers will last for a few months.
The Fun Panel. Instructions here...
This design can also be made in cement with mirrored reflectors.
Just two bent pieces of sheet metal.
Octagon solar cooker or Clear Dome
This panel cooker has 8 sides. Its deeply tapered concentrator is fully adjustable. Uses mirror-like AA (coated anodized aluminum) that will fry an egg in 12 minutes. Need to re-position every two hours or so. Reaches 350 degrees F on a sunny, dry day. $190. See www.cleardomesolar.com
Source Instructions here...
A do it yourself marshmallow solar panel cooker.
More pictures of Solar Box Cookers:
The Kyoto solar cooker. Two cardboard boxes, some black paint, aluminum foil and a glass cover. See www.kyoto-energy.com for their pre-made boxes, biomass cookers and solar shower bags.
Some really well done bananas.
This one looks like it will last a while.
The Pyramid Solar Cooker - face it toward the sun and go for a hike... www.cleardomesolar.com
More Parabolic Solar Cookers:
These parabolic solar cookers are manufactured by locals in their country of use.
Perfect for sunny, high altitude, dry locations.
The Balcony Solar Cooker takes away the threat of animal theft and a potential child's injury. Note the user is wearing sunglasses.
The Barbaboa Cooker. A do it yourself umbrella solar cooker.
A fancier version.
A square parabolic solar cooker.
Painting the bottom of the pot black helps the pot absorb the heat.
Old satellite dishes are perfect frames - here the pot hangs.
The Papillion. Easy to get to the pot and if the food boils over it will not dirty your reflectors. www.solar-papillon.com
Another simple winged cooker in Somalia.
Many solar cookers are now being integrated into a structure.
Villager Sun Oven can reach 500 degrees F. it can cook 1200 meals a day. Villager Sun Ovens are currently in use in 55 countries around the world.
The Tiny Tec parabolic solar cooker. $270 includes shipping. www.solarcooker-at-cantinawest.com
A smaller Octagon Parabola called Clear Dome looks good as well. www.shop.senecaelectronicsonline.com $198.
The Anderson Solar Cooker. Bake while out in the snow. Warning lots of meat being cooked!
Sun Scoop -- designed to be made locally in third world cities with simple basic hand tools. Materials for construction can be substituted. Cooking temp is 250F on cool sunny days- cake takes 1.5 hr to bake --variables in sun and amount of food affect cooking time a bit.
Make it Yourself:
(always good to have around during hurricane season)
Many designs - Panel, Box and Parabolic
Pizza Box Type
http://www.solarnow.org/pizzabx.htm Make a solar oven from pizza boxes.
Panel Cooker Plans
Making a Parabolic Reflector Out of a Flat Sheet
Check out the Solar Cooking Wiki for lots more inspiration
Solar Cookers in Developing Countries...
Why= The World Health Organization has found that “indoor air pollution from solid fuel use is responsible for more than 1.6 million annual deaths and 2.7% of the global burden of disease." Plus, 45% of the world’s wood is used as fuel - which is becoming scarcer and scarcer.