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Applications of Solar Energy: Part-2: Solar Cooker

written by: Haresh Khemani•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 9/15/2008

Solar cooker is the safe and clean way of cooking food. It uses solar energy as the fuel, which is freely and abundantly available. It is being promoted in number of countries to prevent deforestation and also the pollution created by fossil fuels.

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    Solar Cooker

    For cooking the food we usually use LPG or microwave oven. LPG is the petroleum fuel, which is becoming expensive at the fast rate, while microwave oven runs on electricity, which is generated from various types of fossil fuels that are depleting at the fast rate and they also create pollution. Solar cooker is the safest and cleanest way of cooking the food. The solar cooker uses solar energy, which is abundantly and freely available, for cooking the food.

    The solar cookers don’t need any other fuel and they can be kept anywhere in the outside atmosphere exposed to the sun. When the food is to be cooked, it has to be merely kept in the solar cooker. You don’t have to keep a close watch on it and you can easily perform other works while the food is being cooked in the solar cooker.

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    Parts of the Solar Cooker and its Working

    The solar cooker is available in variety of shapes and sizes with different types of solar collectors. A typical solar cooker is a sort of box inside which the vessel containing raw food can be kept. At the top of the box is a reflective mirror on which the sunrays fall. They get reflected and concentrated in a small area inside the box where the cooking utensil is kept. Due to highly concentrated rays the food starts getting and after sometime it is ready to eat. Instead the reflector glass can also be used at the top, which allows the sunrays to pass through it.

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    Various Types of the Solar Cookers

    There are different principles of working of the solar cooker; accordingly they are divided into different types. However, one thing is common in all the solar cookers; the solar energy is used for cooking the food. The types of solar cooker are:

    1) Solar cookers in which direct concentrated solar rays are used: In this type of solar cooker there is mirror on which the sunrays fall and after reflected they are concentrated on a small area where the utensil containing the food is kept. The concentrated rays carry lot of energy cooking the food faster.

    2) Solar cooker in which light is converted into heat: In these solar cookers black surface is applied on the inner surface of the solar cooker. The black color has the ability to absorb maximum amount of solar energy and convert it into heat thus cooking the food faster.

    3) The solar cookers in which heat is trapped: In these solar cookers there is a glass at the top which allow the sunrays to pass through it get concentrated inside the cooker. Here the solar energy is absorbed and converted into heat. This heat is then trapped by the plastic bag or the glass inside the vessel creating a sort of greenhouse effect.

    Solar cooker are being promoted extensively in by humanitarian organizations in the countries where there is huge potential for utilizing the solar energy. Some of the countries rich in solar energy are India, China, Pakistan, Brazil and a number of African countries. The solar cookers are not only cheap means of cooking food, but they also prevent deforestation caused by using wood as the fuel for cooking food and pollution caused by the fossil fuels.

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    Solar Cooker