Solar Cooker

A solar cooker is the device that consists of panels that work to utilize solar energy and concentrate it to cause heating which can be used for cooking purposes.

A solar cooker as said consists of panels that attended in such a way so as reflect and concentrate light to a smaller area so that it can be intensified. This is the reflector part. This concentrated light can actually attain temperatures of upto 500°F when used in a well lit place for considerable amount of time. This can be transmitted to some other utensil like a cooking pan.



Working:

Solar cookers come in various sizes and designs but most of them Usually work on similar kind of principle. The food cooks on the top and is cut into smaller pieces for effective cooking. There is a glass lid provided which is closed during the process. This creates a greenhouse effect and therefore increases the efficiency of device is increased by minimizing the heat loss. Additional reflectors are provided on the sides that a covered with the silver foil or painted silver to create a shiny surface for better reflection of light. The pots are dark coloured on the outside for maximum absorption while the inner surface should be reflective to avoid radiation loss and when it radiates heat back to bottom it can be used for heating. The sides of the cooker are usually supported with insulating material like crumpled newspapers, wood, cardboard, hay etc. to further minimise the loss. But care should be taken that these do not have low ignition temperature to avoid catching fire.

The cooking time depends on various factors like the time of the day, the temperature of the surrounding, the air velocity, the sunlight received etc.

The panel cookers are simple form of cookers in which the pots are covered in plastic bags and lid is closed glass. But another kind known as parabolic cookers are used in various countries which use parabolic reflectors to concentrate heat at one point, normally at base of utensil and can achieve higher temperatures. Another kinds are spherical types which are in someway similar to parabolic but the difference lies in the fact that the axis is directed in such a way so as to point towards sun and focus the light at the focal point.

Why solar cookers?

Solar cookers are becoming a revolutionary gadget in the market that runs electricity free and uses only the natural and ultimate source of energy; sunlight.

The places that require minimal use of resources where outdoor cooking is possible or in places that are highly prone to fire can suitably make use of such wondrous invention.

High performance solar cookers can actually attain a pretty good temperature and be used for making steak, rice, grilling, baking, making soups, vegetables etc.

If not so solar cooker panels can normally attain temperatures high enough to sterilise water or other materials like bread and bakery things.

Solar cookers practically work on absolutely zero running cost. They save the tons on resources which would have been otherwise used.

Moreover being used in open area do not cause heating of surrounding inside the house.

Thinking twice?

One might have a second opinion before decision making possibly due to few of the minor points this efficient technology lacks.

The solar cookers can not be used in areas with low admit of sunlight reaching there. Even in highly wind probe areas it is difficult to use these devices.

Secondly, also as they take much longer to cook for than the normal stove and so are usually not preferred by public at large.

Weighing the obvious pros and cons it can be seen that solar cookers could be preferable alternative and cost effective way of cooking in well lit areas for cooking for a smaller group of people.
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