Now, I know some of you are saying "But Lorin, didn't you already have a convenient, inexpensive, high-power solar cooker?" And the answer is yes, but this is the convenientest, inexpensivest, high-poweredest yet! Well, not high poweredest, fine, but still. This is a really important development for solar cooking internationally.
This is what it’s all about right here: we’ve finished the core of our new solar cooking system.
I contend that this is one of the simplest, most convenient and most cost effective high power (2kwh) solar cooking solutions.
I’ll go into technical and performance details in a later post but for now just check out the ergonomics and consider the facility of use. Waist high cooking console with a lever to control the mirrors and a ‘rearview mirror’ to peek at the underside of the pot to ensure that the machine is properly oriented. The cooking console is far enough removed from the mirrors that putting up a shade or umbrella will not affect the system. All while harnessing 2kwh of solar thermal energy. Enough to boil 8L of water in 40 minutes.
It’s a simplified version of our old mainstay, the Helios array that we’re calling the Phaeton coupled with something we’ve managed to develop that we’re calling an upward reflector. Thin mirror strips reflect the light upwards and onto the bottom of a cooking vessel, enabling boiling or frying in a traditional manner.
There’s a reason we call these technologies Solar Fire. No new recipes required… the Phaeton will cook anything a fire cooked and more.
The convenience factor matched with the power of the machine and leveraged using the upward reflector means that this is a significant development which helps to overcome a persistent flaw in many solar cookers of this size. Observe the following pictures of larger solar cookers which are in more or less the same size league as ours.
The bigger they get, the less accessible the focal point becomes at certain times of day, or the more extreme the angle of incoming light which hinders some processes like frying. Waist high solar cookers like the Devos cooker at the very right have difficulty exceeding 2 square meters of collector area. Tinytech on the far left has an inexpensive, solid 3 square meter cooker, but the geometry does not favour frying, one cannot install a shade, accessing the pot means shading the reflector, and it cannot operate as early or late. The Phaeton can operate from an hour after sunup to an hour before sunset. In the clear skied tropics you get 8 good hours of solar cooking per day. I have yet to make a big test batch of rice but based on some rough figuring the Phaeton can prepare at least 50kg of rice per day. Instead of rice we’ve been making marmalade and dried pineapples
Oh, and it costs less than $500 to build.
Designed to be built onsite by local tradespeople the Helios array uses common materials that are off the shelf in nearly every country on the globe.
My grandfather and I want to engage in international aid projects wherever the need is greatest. Aid organizations running camps in Haiti could see these machines work 8hrs a day and pay themselves off in less than a year, reducing fuel budgets and improving health standards by sterilization and improved air quality. Sub-Saharan countries ravaged by deforestation and suffering under the weight of energy poverty can use this free technology to start generating wealth at all levels of society.
Seriously, we’re mounting a project, somewhere, somehow, and we’d love your help.