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The sun showers us with energy equal to all the earth's fossil fuels in just a few
days. With the depletion of fossil fuels, the world has to turn to alternative
renewable energy sources.

Solar energy is one of the renewable energy resources that can fulfill the energy
needs for mankind. Unlike non-renewable fuels, such as fossil fuels which
produce many side effects like pollution, acid rain and global warming, solar
energy is clean, sustainable and environment friendly.

Solar cooking is one way of using the resource of the sun which is given freely. A
solar cooker is a device which uses sunlight as its energy source. Because they
use no fuel and they cost nothing to run, humanitarian organizations are
promoting their use worldwide to help slow deforestation and desertification,
caused by using wood as fuel for cooking. Solar cookers are clean, convenient,
non-polluting and easy on the environment. And, for millions of people living in
arid, fuel-scarce regions of the world, solar cookers can literally save lives.


i. To create awareness among the general public that solar energy is

an alternative to fossil fuels
ii. To promote solar energy as a renewable, sustainable, clean and
environmentally friendly fuel
iii. To introduce solar cooking as cost-free way of using the resource of
the sun

3.1 Introduction

Students experiment with a virtual solar cooker to discover what types of

materials will be best for use in constructing a solar cooker. Students then apply
their knowledge to building and testing a solar cooker of their own invention. In an
extension, students investigate how these principles can be used as sustainable
energy sources for homes through passive solar heating.

Students will know that

• Incident sunlight is reflected, transmitted, and absorbed when it falls upon

a surface.
• A solar cooker is a solar collector; it “collects” and traps the sun’s energy,
creating heat.
• Solar cookers require three (3) components: glazing, insulation and
• Heat can be transferred through 3 types of method : (i) radiation,
(ii) conduction and (iii) convection.
• There are limitations to how we can maximize solar energy depending
upon our geographic location.

3.2 Problem statement

• What types of materials will be best for use in constructing a solar cooker?

4.1 Principles

The basic principles of our solar cooker are:

• Concentrating sunlight: Reflective mirrors are arranged in a parabolic

shape to concentrate light and heat from the sun into a small cooking
area, making the energy more concentrated and therefore more potent.
• Converting light to heat: A black pot is used to absorb almost all of the
sun's light and turn it into heat, substantially improving the effectiveness of
the cooker.
• Trapping heat: Isolating the air inside the cooker from the air outside the
cooker makes an important difference. Using a clear solid, like a plastic
bag which allow light to enter, but once the light is absorbed and converted
to heat, the plastic bag will trap the heat inside. A transparent heat trap
around the dark pot lets in sunlight, but keeps in the heat.
• Plastic Sheet: Uses plastic sheets to assure that liquids do not seep
through into the oven. Also to prevent staining of the underlying sheet in
the oven.

Alone, each of these strategies for heating something with the sun is fairly
ineffective, but by using all three of these strategies in combination we can
increase temperatures sufficiently for cooking.

5.1 Materials

Zinc Box , Mirror , glass, copper container, river stone, old newspaper,
magnifier, spray, and retort stand.

5.2 Assembly

The solar cooker is assembled as shown in the picture.

5.3 Procedure To Use:

1. A bright sunny day in a big field is chosen.

2. The pot is filled with water
3. The pot is put into a plastic bag and sealed.
4. The mirror and the pot are positioned so that the sunlight is focused
on the pot.
5. The initial and final temperature are recorded and the result is
5.4 Findings

Initial Final
Cooking Time Results
Item Quantity Temperature Temperature
(o C) (o C)
1. Water 500ml 29 o C 47 o C 30 mins Increased by
18 o C


No. Items Cost(RM)

1 Zinc Box + Mirror + glass 100.00
2 Copper container -
3 River stone -
4 Old newspaper -
5 Magnifier -
6 Spray 5.00
7 Retort Stand -

Total 105.00


Dark Cooking Pots

• Food is solar cooked in lidded, dark-coloured pots or similar vessels. Thin

aluminium pots work best. Stainless steel pots can be used, but choose
the lightest and thinnest. Thick and heavy materials absorb heat resulting
in a slower cooking process.
• Shallow, wide pots are better than tall, narrow ones. Indian pots are the
• If you don't have dark-coloured pots, you can spray them black (outer
surfaces only). Dull, nontoxic latex or blackboard paints are preferred. If
oil-based paint is used, "bake" the pot in the sun for several days to get rid
of any odour.
• Glass jars with lids can be used if painted black. You can place a vertical
strip of tape of tape on the jar before painting and then remove the tape,
leaving a space to view food while cooking.

Reflective Surfaces
• Aluminium foil mounted on cardboard, which makes for a simple, effective
• Aluminized polyester film, if reflective, can be used for panel cookers and
as the reflector on top of a box. Do not use inside a box cooker, because it
might melt or emit fumes
• Mirror, is an alternative but it is heavy and fragile.
• Metal sheets made from aluminium or steel are not recommended. The
surfaces are not reflective and tend to absorb some radiation, making
them less effective.
• Metallic paints are not recommended as they are not reflective enough.


1. Sunshine is free - reduce our expenditure on fuel.

2. Solar cooking saves precious fuel.

3. Save time. Food can be cooked unattended while you carry out
other chores.

4. Pots are easy to clean. Food does not stick to the inside and there
is no soot on the outside.

5. A solar cooker is easy to make from a variety of materials.

6. Solar cookers are safe as there is no fire.

7. There is no hazardous smoke that can cause injury to our eyes or

harm our lungs. People allergic to smoke can now enjoy "solarcues" -
barbecues without the smoke.

8. Most solar cookers cook at 82 - 121 degree celcius, which is ideal

for retaining nutrients, moisture and flavour and not burning foods.
Wood and gas fire temperatures, by contrast, exceed 260 degree

9. Solar cooking is similar to slow cooking. Slow cooking

retains flavour, moisture and nutrients and makes meats tender.
Recent studies indicate that foods cooked at moderate temperatures
may be healthier.

10. Solar cookers are versatile and adaptable. This

simple technology is easily adapted to a wide variety of
construction materials, cooking customs and climates.

11. TheWorld Health Organization estimates 80% of all illness are

spread through contaminated water. In places where there is a
shortage of fuel, water can be pasteurized in solar cookers. This will
help reduce incidences of cholera and other waterborne diseases.

Water that has been heated to 65 degree celcius for a short period of
time is free from microbes including Escherichia coli, Rotaviruses,
Giardia and the Hepatitis A virus. At around 71 degree celcius, milk
and food are pasteurized. Boiling is not required.

Microbe Killed rapidly at

Worms, Protozoa cysts (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, 55 degree
Entamoeba) celcius
Bacteria (V. cholerae, E. coli, Shigella, Salmonella 60 degree
typhi), Rotavirus celcius
65 degree
Hepatitis A virus

12. Burning traditional fuels such as wood and gas pollutes the air and
contributes to global warming. Solar cookers provide a pollution-free

13. Vegetables, fruits and meats cook great without water.

Water tends destroy nutrients.

14. Many foods can be cooked for several hours without

overcooking. This allows food to be placed in the cooker early in the
day and left until mealtime. No monitoring or stirring is
required. ("Absentee cooking")

Conversion to clean energy sources such as solar energy would enable the world
to improve the quality of life throughout the planet Earth, not only for humans, but
also for its flora and fauna as well. Because of the foregoing, there is a need to
develop an ingenious method of solar energy conversion systems and then to
substitute it where applications of fossil fuels are most vulnerable. Therefore,
extensive research and development in solar energy utilization technologies must
be carried out.