Solar Household Energy: Solar cooking for economic development and environmental relief

Half of the world’s population relies on wood fires to cook.

S o l a r    C o o k i n g
Solar cooking is using the sun to cook food. It is a simple, safe, and convenient way to cook without consuming fuel. Solar cooking can help alleviate the burden on more than 3 billion people who must walk for miles to collect wood or spend their meager income on fuel. The map above illustrates the countries which have abundant solar energy for cooking.LINK  While this passive technology cannot entirely replace traditional fuels, it can significantly reduce their use.

Solar cookers can bake, braise, stew and fry food. The 3 most common solar cooker designs are parabolic, box and panel cookers.

(1) Parabolic Cooker: The sun’s rays are captured in a reflector which focuses them at a point under a pot. The effect is like a stove top burner or a campfire. Temperatures can reach above 400 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to fry food.
(2) Box Cooker: The sun’s rays are received in an insulated black box with a transparent lid which lets in the sun’s rays. Inside the box, this sunshine turns to heat which is trapped in the box. The effect is similar to the oven in your kitchen. Temperatures can reach around 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 
(3) Panel Cooker: A combination of the two systems which is portable and less expensive. Temperatures can reach around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. (This is ample because cooking begins at around 180 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Solar cookers address seven of the eight United Nations’ Millennium Development GoalsLINK

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Ensure environmental sustainability
  7. Develop a global partnership for development
----- Photos -----
Map: “The Reach of Solar Cooking” photo by Omar Rincon, 2003
“SK Parabolic Cooker” (top)
“SOS Box Cooker” (middle)
“HotPot” (bottom)

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