Solar Cooking

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Solar Cooking with eco-friendly Heat Energy

The sun provides not only lighting and heat, but also a vast amount of energy that we have yet to maximize. A step towards harnessing much of the sun's energy is by using this free heat as energy for cooking. Solar cookers and solar ovens are basic but effective ways of making use of the sun's heat efficiently.

Basically, solar cookers take in as much sunlight, concentrate the sunlight using reflective surfaces, and then trap the heat from the sunlight to be used in cooking. They come in variable designs, which mainly differ in the shape and size. The design affects the manner by which sunlight is concentrated and trapped. Solar cookers can be in box form, funnel-shaped, angled panels (or the open box type), or in the shape of a parabolic cup.

The sun provides free heat energy - an eco-friendly energy source

Solar cookers can achieve temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius, just enough for boiling water and cooking many kinds of food. You can control the temperature by adding or removing some of the reflectors which aid in the concentration of sunlight from which heat is sourced.

In places where gas or electricity is not readily available, solar cookers are recommended as there is no need for solid fuel, and they can be made from materials that are readily available. All you need are reflective panels such as metal sheets (which can be recycled from taken from scrap pieces lying around your home), and cardboard boxes or pieces of wood for the framing. The cooking pot or container must be black or dark colored outside so as to absorb heat (instead of reflecting it), while the inside has to be reflective in order to trap the heat inside more effectively. There are many designs available online and solar-guides that tell how to build a solar cooker, many of which are easy to do and can be tried out at home.

Cooking with free heat energy from the sun

Although they are effective, the thing about solar cookers and ovens is that it takes a bit more time to heat up and cook, depending on the amount of sunlight received by the cooker. It usually takes twice the amount of time to cook in a solar oven than it would take in a conventional oven.

The way to get around this is to start cooking at an earlier time so that the food is ready just in time. Also, it is recommended that cooking be done around noon, just when there is the most amount of sunlight. Also, it would be good to position the cooker such that there are no obstructions blocking the sunlight, and also to move the cooker so that it follows the path of the sun.

There are many places in the world where solar cooking is a norm. Places where electricity and gas cannot be supplied or are scarce are best candidates for using solar cookers. Also on a camping trip cooking with a solar oven would be an environmentally friendly alternative to get a hot meal.

Nevertheless, cooking with the sun is something that anyone can try out, as it is a fun and inexpensive way of preparing food while doing your share in conserving energy and lessening pollution.

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The sun's free heat energy : eco-friendly energy source for solar cooking