Ecology And Environment

How to Make a Solar Cooker



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93 million miles from Earth sits an oven set at 9900 degrees Fahrenheit emitting rays that are strong enough to cook food anywhere on the planet.

Solar energy is readily abundant and for many people it could be the perfect solution for providing a healthy, cooked meal for their families. Solar cookers are relatively simple to construct and just as easy to use.

Solar cooking provides significant improvements in the quality of life for those people that struggle each day to provide for their families' health.

- There is no need to gather fuel for cooking fires, allowing more time for other activities and limiting exposure to dangers that may arise when leaving the village to forage for wood and dung.




- The moderate temperatures reached conserves nutrients in the food that is cooked.




- More food is available since it does not have to be traded for cooking fuel.




- There is no smoke to irritate eyes and lungs.




- More nutritious foods that take a long time to cook are not normally cooked due to fuel consumption; not an issue with a solar cooker




The instructions provided here are for a box-type solar cooker. It consists of two cardboard boxes assembled such that the smaller box sits inside the larger box.

Both boxes are lined with aluminum foil to reflect the sun's rays. The space between the two boxes is lined with insulating material to help retain the heat. Like the walls of a house.

The bottom of the inner box is painted black to absorb the rays and transmit the heat energy to the cooking pot within the box.

The top of the box is covered with a lid consisting of a clear oven bag to allow the rays to enter the box. A reflector is attached to the lid and propped up to help reflect more rays into the box.

Materials:



- One square cardboard box large enough to fit your biggest cooking pot (Inner box)

- One square cardboard box at least 1/2 inch bigger than the first (Outer box)

- One piece of cardboard that will cover the top of the bigger box (Lid)

- Roll of aluminum foil

- Clear oven cooking bag

- Glue

- Insulating material (crumpled newspaper, fiberglass batting, feathers, etc.)

- Flat black paint

- Duct tape






Instructions:

- Close the flaps on the larger cardboard box and place the smaller box on top of the closed flaps.

- Trace around the perimeter of the smaller box making an outline on the larger box flaps.

- Remove the smaller box and cut the box flaps on the larger box along the traced line. This is the hole that the smaller box will sit in.

- Line the interior of the large box, including the flaps, by gluing aluminum foil to the surfaces.

- Glue the large box flaps into place. Use reinforcement cardboard at the flap seams if necessary.

- While maintaining the box flaps intact, cut the smaller box sides down so that the walls of the box are about one inch taller than your largest cooking pot. Additionally, the smaller box should be at least 1/2 inch off the bottom of the larger box when it is installed.

- Place the smaller box into the large box and with the flaps full open; trim the flaps along the larger box edges.

- Line the interior of the smaller box by gluing aluminum foil to the surfaces.

- Place insulating material in the larger box such that it will surround the smaller box once it is installed.

- Place the smaller box inside the large box, making sure that the insulating material is evenly distributed.

- Fold the smaller boxes' flaps over the large box and glue them in place.

- Cut a piece of cardboard the same size as the bottom of the smaller box. Paint one surface with the flat black paint. Once the paint is dry, place it in the bottom of the smaller box, painted side up.

- Place the large piece of cardboard over the box cooker and construct a lid that will fit over the larger box and have an opening the same size as the smaller, interior box.

- Cut the oven bag to fit the opening of the box cooker lid and glue the bag to the interior of the box cooker lid.

- Cut a piece of cardboard the same size as the lid. Glue aluminum foil to one side to create a reflector.

- Using the duct tape, make a hinge for the reflector lid by taping it to the back of the solar cooker lid.

- With the lid placed on the cooker, prop the reflector up with a pencil or similar device at an angle to reflect the sun's rays into the box.




Cooking:

- Place your cooking pot into the cooker, install the lid, and prop up the reflector.

- Place the cooker in the direct sunlight and cook you food or boil water until done.

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