What is the perfect solar cooker? How should it function and perform? And most importantly should it be cost effective and comparable to the more conventional cooking methods thus offering an alternative to our current reliance of fuel sources?
Solar ovens aka solar cookers fall into 3 distinct categories; the box solar cooker design, trough design and the parabolic cooker design. Each design offers its own features, benefits and drawbacks.
Taking these factors into account, one must balance up the pros and cons of what the needs are for the end user. The predominant market for solar cookers includes developing countries, Tibet (lack of fire wood), China and India.
The Western world is now starting to harness solar cooking with the advent of peak oil prices starting to affect us all.
The most popular solar ovens currently on the market include: –
Global Sun Oven
Used in over 126 countries around the world, and reported to be the most popular solar oven on the market.
The oven costs approx $249 (USA), however if you live outside the USA, then shipping charges to the UK for instance costs an extra $302. Total amount payable $551.
The box design means the oven doesn’t require frequent adjustments to point to the sun as frequently as the other designs require.
Cooking temperatures reached 360-400 degrees Fahrenheit. However the temperature quickly drops when food is placed in the chamber as the hot air escapes, reaching optimal cooking temperatures can take several hours.
Rating 2 out of 5
For more information visit sunoven
Spotlight and Sangli solar cooker
Produced in China these solar cookers adopt the parabolic cooker design. They have a 2 square metre reflective surface which approximately equates to 1000 Watts. 5kg of water can be boiled in 20 minutes.
The Sangli solar cooker is a similar design to the Spotlight solar cooker which reportedly sells 80,000 units a year, predominantly to China and India.
The cost of the Sangli Solar cooker is $105 plus postage. Once again the postage costs outweigh the cost of the cooker as the weight of the oven is approx 50kg. A minimum order of 10 units is also required.
High cooking temperatures are reached – 800 degrees Fahrenheit and a tracking device can also be purchased to automatically track the sun.
Overall a great solar cooker, however it’s bulky size and weight limit the global potential this oven can reach.
Rating 3.5 out of 5
For more information visit chinasangli and sz-wholesale
Post a review on the spotlight and Sangli solar ovens.
HotPot Solar Cooker
My favourite due to its durable, lightweight, and easy-to-use design, it is also a cost effective solar cooker at only $99.95. The Solar Household Energy company is a not-for profit corporation.
The only downside to the HotPot is that food takes a long time to cook due to the open panel style box design, similar to the SunOven once the food has been accessed it then takes a long time to reach optimal cooking temperatures due to the greenhouse (hot air) bag method adopted.
The HotPot is available with two types of reflector; one made of aluminium foil bonded to heavy cardboard, and the other – the Morning Star is made of anodized aluminium. These offerings maximise global sales and cater for the people who need this technology the most – the Third World and also caters to the happy campers – Western World.
Temperatures inside the HotPot solar cooker can reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of cooker is used in NGOs and disaster relief situations.
Rating 4.2 out of 5
For more information visit she-inc and SolarCookers org
Over 14 million young children die each year and the life expectancy in many countries is less than 50 years. This is due to poor health care, lack of clean water, respiratory and eye ailments due to enclosed smoky cooking conditions. Malnutrition is another key factor. Lack of food due to a shortage of fuel, and the practice of single pot cooking (separate weaning foods cannot be prepared).
Many families are forced to spend more on cooking fuel than they are able to spend on food.
All of these factors result in the needless death of many millions of lives. Solar cooking can help reduce this unnecessary waste of human life. Third world governments are unable to assist their poor citizens because of the high interest rates attached to their foreign debts accumulated in the past decade.
Gloomy as the above situation may seem, there is hope for the poor of the world. There must be hope, or else humanity will perish.