Cooking with the Power of the Sun
On sweltering days, it isn’t surprising that people think of using the sun’s heat to prepare food. Since the early days of Greek, Roman, and Chinese culture, people have tried to use the sun’s heat to cook. So why aren’t we all using solar ovens today?
To answer this question, we must understand how solar ovens work. To capture energy and stay hot enough to cook at temperatures similar to those of conventional ovens, solar ovens must concentrate sunlight, absorb its heat, and 1 preventing that heat from escaping. On a clear day, solar ovens can reach 200 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (90 to 175 degrees Celsius), which is hot enough to bake a loaf of bread. But to cook with the sun’s heat, there has to be sunshine. If 2 they’re rainy or overcast, solar ovens are useless. And even with clear skies, solar ovens need to be adjusted every few hours to follow the sun’s progress across the sky. 3 Fickle weather and the need for monitoring make solar cooking a tricky endeavor.
Building solar ovens also poses challenges. Over time, inventors have experimented with different shapes and materials to make solar ovens, and three basic designs have emerged. The first is the parabolic solar oven, a large, shiny bowl with a pot in the center. The second design, a hot pot panel cooker, 4 use angled metallic panels to 5 compile sunlight. The third and most common design is the box cooker. With reflective sides and, sometimes, glass boxes placed inside, the simple shape is effective for heating. 6 However, the metal and glass needed to build these designs can be hard to find, purchase, and transport, especially for people in remote communities, where solar cooking would be of greatest benefit.
7 While these designs are the most popular, inventors should continue to creatively approach solar oven design. Inspired by the work of Barbara Kerr, a solar cooking proponent in the 1970s, young inventor Raquel Redshirt constructed a solar cooker using only the everyday items 8 she found nearby in 9 the homes in which the people in her neighborhood lived. She hoped to help her community in the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, which had limited access to electricity and clean fuel. Redshirt’s award-winning final design uses cardboard boxes lined with aluminum foil. Thanks to cost-saving efforts like Redshirt’s, solar ovens can be an option for anyone. 10 Soon, more people may be cooking using only the power of the sun.
Questions are on d11.schoology.com. Open it in a new tab so you can see both.