Solar Cooker: A solar cooker is a device used to cook or warm the food, based on free sunlight. Basic principle is that, the sunrays being the source of heat are concentrated on a particular area, so it is converted to heat energy that is retained for cooking.
Solar cooker helps to be cost saving device in the form of gas cylinder, fuel, electric current, etc. It helps to reduce air pollution, save nonrenewable resources, saves trees. Places where open fire is still used for cooking which would be impacting the health by carbon monoxide and other noxious fumes can be
reduced by use of Solar Cooker. Solar cooker parts, benefits, uses, tips and disadvantages have been described below, but one should realize the benefits in the long run. It would not surely bring changes over night nor be easy with other conventional methods but surely if one measure on the long run it would be bring drastic changes in the environment. In some cases, it might be easy to used by us and in some other cases, it might not be directly be used by us. In such cases, we can help in bringing awareness about solar cooker and help to implement where ever its best suits like in our villages, homes. We can judge this easily and be in a position to implement or help to implement. Let us all think this as one of the way of saving our Mother Nature and come one step ahead in this direction.
Solar cooker is a simple device and consists of below part :
1. Box coated with black colour to place vessel/utensils containing food.
2. Mirror or shiny material is used as a reflector to concentrate the sunray in the box.
3. Glass or plastic to maintain the temperature.
4. Thermal insulation to conserve the heat energy.
Benefits of Solar cooker are noted below:
1. Reduces domestic fuel consumption almost by 30%.
2. No fuel/current required.
3. Pay-back period is around three years.
4. Maintenance cost is almost negligible.
5. Most of the items can be cooked.
6. Food cooked in solar cooker tastes better and is of more nutritious and healthy because of the slow process of cooking.
7. Can be used to keep food hot for a long time.
8. No constant supervision is required.
9. It is difficult to burn food in a solar cooker.
10. Since, solar ovens are placed outside, they do not contribute unwanted heat inside houses.
11. Solar box cookers attain temperatures of up to about 165 deg. C (325 deg. F), so they can be used to sterilize water or prepare most foods that can be made in a conventional oven or stove, from baked bread to steamed vegetables to roasted meat.
12. Solar cookers do not produce any smoke.
13. Solar cookers are not fire hazards.
How to use and tips:
1. The container of food is placed inside the solar cooker and solar cooker is placed in direct sunlight, turned towards the sun and left until the food is cooked.
2. Rice for a mid-day meal might be started early in the morning, with vegetables, cheese, or meat added to the solar cooker in the middle of the morning. Depending on the size of the solar cooker and the number and quantity of cooked foods, a family may use one or more solar cookers.
3. Food cooks faster in the two hours before and after the local solar noon than it does in either the early morning or the late afternoon. Melt butter in 15 minutes, to bake cookies in 2 hours, and to cook rice for four people in 4 hours.
Cost : The cost may vary from Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 6,000 depending on the material of the dish used and the salient features provided by the manufacturers.
Below are the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
By use of solar cooker, one can achieve all the 8 millennium development goals set by United Nations Organisation. So lets all go ahead with UNO and support in achieving UNO goals. Its our one of the duty for which the whole world is working in this direction. 2 billion people who are still cooking on open fires, widespread use of solar cookers could have large economic and environmental benefits.
1. End Poverty and Hunger.
2. Universal Education.
3. Gender Equality.
4. Child Health.
5. Maternal Health.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS
7. Environment Sustainability
8. Global Partnership.
1. Solar cookers are less usable in cloudy weather and at high latitudes, so some fuel-based backup heat source must still be available in these conditions. Can be used almost 300 day a year.
2. Solar cookers take longer time around 1.30 to 4 Hours based on item to cook food than a fuel-based oven. However, it requires less hands-on time cooking, so this is often considered a reasonable trade-off.
3. Cooks may need to learn special cooking techniques to fry common foods, such as fried eggs or flat breads like chapatis and tortillas. It may not be possible to safely or completely cook some thick foods, such as large roasts, loaves of bread, or pots of soup, particularly in small panel cookers; the cook may need to divide these into smaller portions before cooking.