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Experiments in Alternative Energy Cooking


The following pages show the results of various experiments that I have conducted to learn about solar cooking and other low-cost cooking options. Wood fuel used in many parts of the world is becoming scarce and burning wood in open fires can constitute a health hazard. The idea was to make my experimental devices as simple but as effective as possible, using low-cost, widely available parts. Because the sun is not always available, I believe any cooking solution has to be looked at as a system. It also needs to include at least one reliable, always-available, non-solar cooking device. Ideally, other technologies, like a passive, insulated "hay box" design would be integrated into a complete system. Any cooking system also has to fit into the culture where it will be used or it won't be accepted. If a system takes too much time, is too complicated, or is not highly reliable, it will also be rejected.


The information contained in these articles concerns experiments by the author with solar and other cooking methods and should be used for research purposes only. It should not be considered a guide to building cooking devices.
All solar cookers are potentially hazardous, especially if you donít follow the proper safety procedures. There is a danger of eye damage from reflected or concentrated sunlight. There also is always a danger of being burned, if not by the oven, then by the vessel, the food inside it, or steam that may be released, just as in any oven. If an oven is hot enough to cook food, then it is hot enough to burn you. Any wood-burning stove must be used with adequate ventilation. The absence of visible smoke does not mean that there are no dangerous fumes coming from the stove.
The author takes no responsibility for your use of this information.
While the author believes that information in this article is accurate, The author makes no representation about the content or suitability of this information for any purpose. The information is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty. Use the information on this site at your own risk. In no event shall the author be liable for any damages resulting from the use of information in this article.
If you are not willing to be responsible for the safe use of a solar cooker, or other oven, then don't build or use one.

The rocket stove heating tests were conducted with sticks found in a wooded area to simulate the "real-world" conditions where wood might be found. The sticks are from various types of trees and have a higher moisture content than kiln-dried lumber. The figures for heating times should be looked at as approximate.

1 - Testing an "insulated box" oven design  open end of oven

2 - Trying to improve the "insulated box" oven  18x24_insulated_oven

3 - A simple "parabolic reflector" design  simple_parabolic

4 - A fold-up, stretched solar cooker design 

5 - A comparison test of my parabolic and fold-up designs 

6 - A NO-COST Solar cooker (Concept) 

7 - A high-performance version of my simple parabolic oven (2008) 

8 - New Technology - The Rocket Stove 

9 - An improved Rocket Stove  improved_rocket_test

10 - An "institutional-sized" Rocket Stove 

11 - A personal-sized "castle" rocket stove made entirely from one 8" vent pipe  castle stove full view

12 - A small, low-cost rocket stove made in 5 min. from bricks  Brick_bricksupport

13 - The institutional-sized Rocket Stove test in central Tanzania  front view

14 - A smaller version of the institutional-sized Rocket Stove  

15 - A miniature portable alcohol "Backpacker" stove 

16 - Emergency stove from a pop or food can (2008) 

17 - The personal-sized "castle" stove re-visited (2008) 

18 - An Experiment with a low-cost Hearing Aid (2009) 

19 - Another rocket stove with a smaller chimney (2010) 

20 - A concept for a solar panel steam electric plant


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Last modified: 06/22/10

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