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DIY (Do it Yourself) Projects -- Solar Cooking
Last Updated on:  04/02/2013 07:11 PM

Successful solar cookers were reported in Europe and India as early as the 18th century.  The increased use of glass during that period helped inventors to trap heat & hot air.  In 1870, Augustine Mouchot invented a fairly portable oven for the French Foreign Legion.  It could bake a pound of bread in 45 minutes or 2 pounds of potatoes in one hour.

Around the same time, W. A. Adams developed an eight-sided mirrored oven which reflected light through a glass cone located in the center of the oven.  This oven could cook a 12 pound turkey in 4 to 5 hours.  This is still a popular design today.  We actually use a large model, very similar to Adam's oven.  In this oven we can cook 60 pounds of food at a time

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A Cardboard Parabolic Cooker:  During the summer of 1999 I set about making our first prototype. It was made from 0.7 mm thick AnocoilÓ aluminum, which is almost mirror quality and some steel tubing. The reflector profile opens out like a fan, as each segment pivots about the middle. Around the edge is a rubber strip that fits over the edge of the aluminum and keeps it all together. We found that the 0.7 mm aluminum is a bit thin to support its own weight so it sagged in the middle. This was overcome by clamping a conical support underneath. We also found that it was a bit wobbly and the focal point would move if there were any wind. Despite this it does work well on sunny days and looks cool. It also packs up very well so is ideal for camping. It isn't ideal for developing countries, as it isn't that stable and the aluminum was too heavy for my suitcase. As each sheet overlaps the next the reflection tends to be at an angle, so the focal point is not as accurate as the other prototypes. It is 1.2 m in diameter, which is equivalent to 1m2 of sunlight but probably only 60% efficient. / (added 09/2005)

A Fresnel Parabolic Cooker :  The solar cooker consists of 3 main parts. A parabolic reflector serves to concentrate more than one square metre of sunlight into an area about 17 cm in diameter. The control arm allows the reflector to be set facing the sun and holds the pot at the focal point regardless of the reflector tilt angle. The stand holds the other two components together and allows the cooker to be rotated to follow the sun as it moves across the sky.

Backpack Stove

Barbara Kerr Solar Wall Oven Do-It-Yourself Guidelines

Bernard Solar Panel Cooker:  A simple, portable model that may open new horizons

Cookit Foldable Family Panel:  The Foldable Family Panel is either a “solar oven” or "curved concentrator" but a happy hybrid. Its utter simplicity belies its powerful cooking power. Its low cost brings solar cooking to a much wider market of people.  It is handy for cooking food, baking breads, pasteurizing water, and teaching the basics of solar energy.

Double-Angled-Twelve-Sided (Dats) Solar Cooker:  The “CooKit” is one of my favorite solar cookers. After reading about difficulties many people face locating heat-resistant bags, and experiencing how ordinary plastic bags melt on contact with hot cooking pots, I started to explore the possibility of a simple, low cost, easy to construct cooker that requires no plastic bag. I have designed one that I call Double-Angled-Twelve-Sided (DATS) solar cooker. It seems to do the job on clear, sunny days. DATS cooker employs 24 small reflective panels to concentrate extra sunlight to compensate for the heat loss from not using a plastic bag. DATS cooker design is similar to a deep-focus parabolic cooker, but instead of using a true parabolic curve, multiple flat panels concentrate sunlight onto the cooking pot. Two reflective surface-angles, 45º and 60º, are used so that a bend can be introduced in between for structural rigidity to hold the cooker’s shape. This structural rigidity allows for DATS cooker to be constructed out of cardboard material.

Dual Angled Funnel Cooker:  Parvati Solar Cooker. Pictures and figures how to make a modified funnel cooker. 

Dual-Setting Panel Cooker (Dspc):  DSPC is made from a single sheet of cardboard or plastic board, measuring 4’ x 3’, with aluminum foil on one side (see DSPC plan below).  DSPC is low cost, simple and quick to construct, and it can also be mass-produced easily.

Easy Lid Cooker:  Although designs for cardboard cookers have gotten simpler, fitting a lid can still be difficult and time consuming. In this version, a lid is formed automatically from the outer box….

How To Make And Use The Byu Solar Cooker/Cooler:  an online VITA technical publication.

Inclined Box-Type Solar Cooker – A New Design:  The detailed constructional feature of the cooker is shown in Fig-1.The cooker box consists of a top open black painted inner box kept inside of the another box and the space between the two boxes is filled with glass wool insulation. The upside of this cooker box is covered by two layers of transparent glass keeping a gap in between ....

Making And Using A Solar Cooker :  Solar cooking is a delightful alternative to conventional cooking methods. The solar cookers available today really work and they deserve serious evaluation by a much larger audience. For 40 years, small groups of people have been using and refining some very good designs. But these designs have, for the most part, gone unnoticed even by those involved with alternative energy. With such a lack of support, you’d think they would have vanished from view long ago....

Nelpa Solar Panel Cooker:  Mike Pelly lives in the US North West. "I live for renewable energy projects," he says. Mike's been making his own biodiesel fuel from waste cooking oil for the last five years, using it in several different cars. He finds it "far superior" to fossil-based diesel fuel.

Parvati Solar Cooker (Twelve Sided) :  An off-grid secluded house FOR SALE about 20 miles east of Arlington, Washington

Pentagon Star Cooker:  does small run CNC abrasive water cutting work. We use them for cutting steel discs and plastic discs for some of our prototypes. They have a low $50 minimum and their machine cuts arbitrary shapes out of steel or plastic to an accuracy of 0.005". 

Reflective Open Box Solar Cooker:  A basic, no knowledge assumed, and set of instructions that builds up from an easy system to a more and more complex one.

Solar Cooking Plans:  Plans for solar cookers, ovens, and water pasteurizers.

Solar Water Heater & Pasteurizer Made From Everyday Recyclables

Sunpan:  The "SunPan" was specifically designed to be built in any country with local materials and hand tools, a home-town solar cooker.  This solar cooker can be mass produced….

Sunstoves & Gravity Water System:  SCRAP MATERIALS MAKE CLEANER AIR & WATER Free instructions for a hand built panel solar cookers and a gravity water system using local materials. 1,400 water systems were built since 1980 and 10,000 solar cookers that were sold for cost. 

The Bernard Solar Panel Cooker:  From the Alternate Energy Blog:  The Xantex/Trace C-series charge controllers are some of the finest controllers on the market. Charge controllers are essential in solar and wind energy systems that charge lead acid batteries. The controller's role is to charge the batteries at their optimum rate and to keep them from over charging.

The Cookit Foldable Family Panel:   

The Dual-Setting Panel Cooker (Dspc):  Garden ponds can be really beautiful, adding a sense of peace to a garden like nothing else can do. Others can provide you with a lot of food

The Minimum Solar Box Cooker :  When we designed this cooker, we named it the "Minimum Solar Box Cooker" because, at the time, it represented the simplest design we could devise. What we didn't communicate with that name was that this is a full-power cooker that works very well, and is in no way "minimum" as far as its cooking power goes....

The Nelpa Solar Panel Cooker:  Although designs for cardboard cookers have gotten simpler, fitting a lid can still be difficult and time consuming. In this version, a lid is formed automatically from the outer box.

The Pentagon Star Cooker:  The Foolproof Method has been used to make many thousands of gallons of high-quality biodiesel from all sorts of feedstock. Many individual biofuelers have adopted it as their standard method.

The Reflective Open Box Solar Cooker:  In the proposed box type cooker beam radiation is always perpendicularly accessible for its adjustable inclined position and for convenient implementation of two reflectors the cooking time is remarkably reduced than that of a usual box type cooker. The cost of cooker is however, slightly higher than usual box type but it can be considered reasonable in respect to its improved performance.

The Tire Cooker:  This solar cooker has been designed by Suresh Vaidyarajan - an architect, who has found a simple solution for a tough problem. For the last one year he has been cooking his food in this solar cooker. This is the simplest solar cooker I have ever seen….

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