Sunday, April 15, 2012

How to Make a Solar Cooker

Solar Cookers are fun to use - there is a slight learning curve to adjust the heat for some recipes; but experimenting with slow solar cooking through one summer will have you singing the praises of solar cooking. And, solar cooking is great for not heating up the house during the summer and you'll save on your monthly energy bill.

I bought my first solar cooker from SolarCookers.org when I attended a workshop on solar cooking four years ago. I enjoy the feeling of being off the grid when I can. I'm not an especially good cook but I have managed to be proud of my yearly concotions from the solar oven.

Here is Alex A. George's article on how to easily make a solar cooker if you don't care to buy one. (Amazon has good prices on a variety of solar cookers)

In order to make a solar cooker yourself, there are a few important facts that you need to understand about how it works:

•The reflective surface - this is the most important part of a cooker and is usually made of a combination of cardboard and aluminum foil, simple reflective mirrors, or even polished glass sheets. The role of this reflective area is to concentrate the sunlight and direct it towards the cooking surface.

•The importance of turning light into heat - the solar cookers have a few parts that should be dark colored. For instance, the outside of the pot you use for cooking should be black in order to better attract the sunlight; or, you should place a black metallic sheet on the bottom of the cooker (this is the area where you will place the pot). Cookers that have a black or other non-reflective bottom are always more efficient.

•Trapping hot air inside - in order for the cooker to work efficiently, you need to cover up the oven with a sheet of glass, or wrap a plastic bag over the top. These tightly sealed covers will retain the heat inside, thus reducing the cooking time. They also create a sort of a greenhouse effect, which means that your meals will be ready even faster.

There are many types of solar cookers available. However, the cheapest and easiest to manufacture oven is the one made of two large cardboard boxes where one is nested into other, making sure that the distance between all sides of the boxes it as least 2 to 3 inches. The insulation system is made usually with the help of crumbled newspapers, while the reflective areas of the oven are created using aluminum foil. Above the oven, people usually place either a Plexiglas sheet or a simple plastic wrap.

If you manage to build a solar cooker that is indeed airtight and has many strategically placed reflective surfaces, your meals will be ready fast. Of course, in order for these ovens to give their best performance, they need to be placed in direct sunlight. The hotter the weather and the strongest the rays of the sun, the better your solar cooker will function.

Of course, those who are not armed with enough patience and dexterity in order to build such an oven at home can always buy one from the specialty shops available online.

For more information on how to make a solar oven, go here to discover:

•The facts about solar energy
•Exactly how solar energy works
•The price of installing solar energy
•Solar energy for home and business
•How to build a solar energy system
•How to make a solar oven

...and lots more! The information is ideal for students learning about solar energy and home owners who are looking into installing solar panels in their home. Please email any questions to support@advantagesanddisadvantagessolarenergy.com
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