Last updated: February 10, 2010
SCI member Ruth Dettinger sent word of a solar cooker designed by her husband, Glenn, for a Peace Corps volunteer headed to Niger. The cooker needed to be lightweight and compact enough to fit in a small suitcase. Mr. Dettinger’s final design, made with wires and emergency blanket reflective material, weighed in at 8oz and folds up accordion style.
The cooker is constructed of six wire panels, covered with reflective material and sewn together in a circular fashion, that each measure 17 inches high, 21 inches wide at the top and 9 inches wide at the bottom. The panels are sloped at 45 degrees. The cooker is designed to sit on a base made of a large, forked tree branch extending at least two feet from the middle of the cooker base, and two or more smaller branches that are tied upon it extending far enough outwards in both directions that the cooker can rest upon all the branches. This base can be covered with a woven mat and additional reflective material if desired. The cooking pot would then rest upon the branches or mat. The cooker may be tilted up to 15 degrees.
To achieve appropriate cooking temperatures, pots used in this cooker need to be covered with a transparent plastic bag that allows sunlight in and keeps heat from escaping. The Dettingers recommend making a wire frame, like those discussed in previous issues of the Solar Cooker Review, to hold the bag in proper shape so that it can be set over the cooking pot. This allows easy access to the pot, and makes it possible to use common, non-heat resistant plastic bags without them touching the pot and melting.