Last updated: April 18, 2016
Dr. Dieter Seifert has been called the "father of the parabolic solar cooker," although he pays homage to Andreas Gartner who cooked using a wooden parabolic solar cooker lined with gold foil in Dresden in the early 1700s. Dr. Seifert is the developer of the SK line parabolic solar cookers, whose reflectors are formed from multiple highly-reflective, trapezoidal metal sheets that take on a parabolic shape when attached to the cooker's circular frame. The SK line of solar cooker focuses the light onto the bottom of the cooking pot, which is well within the outline of the cooker so that there is no danger of fire or eye damage, which might be the case with a cooker with a longer focal length.
Together with his wife Imma, who is one of the most experienced solar cooks worldwide, he has helped EG-Solar and many other organizations over the last 30 years. Dieter also designed the solar cooker AlSol 1.4 for his friends of the Spanish organization alSol.
Imma developed several new applications for the parabolic solar cooker (see photo). She has also written a cookbook where she gives practical hints in five languages explaining, for example, her technique of baking, conserving fruits, and producing juices. The couple also promotes the use of these durable, powerful, high-quality solar cookers used in conjunction with simple heat-retention cookers.
In 2015 Dieter developed the Ben 2 and 3 Firewood Stoves which currently (November 2015) are being tested in Nepal, Nigeria, and Tanzania. More than 100 families affected by the earthquake in Nepal received Ben 2 stoves from the Center for Rural Technology, Nepal, who adapted and produced the stoves. The documentation of Ben 2 and Ben 3 stoves provides enough information on producing the stove as well as fabricating the tools of production so that this can become an open source project.
In all of his designs, Dieter follows the principles of Appropriate Technology or Perma-Technology, i.e. improving living conditions; not causing harm; long lasting; totally recyclable; affordable; easy to produce, to operate and to maintain; and generating local income and/or savings to the households). Dieter has presented his proposals How to Overcome the Firewood Crisis and About the Peace-Making Effects of Solar Technologies at EG-Solar conferences in Altötting and at the InterSol conference in Salzburg.
Recent news and developments
- May 2015: Dieter Seifert reports: Today I have made tests with the Ben 2 and 3 Ben Firewood Stoves. It is almost unbelievable, but the efficiency is always higher than 40% and if one does not heat up too fast (i.e., the power is kept under 1.5 kW), the result is almost no smoke and approximately 350 g thin wooden sticks can bring 6 liters of water to a boil in 25 minutes. Of course cooking is much more convenient with a large parabolic solar cooker (We have used the AlSol 1.4 for many years.). The Ben ovens are so easy to prepare (2 sheets provided with holes and bending, drilling a ring and three legs and turn, turn 4 bars hairpin-shaped and assemble everything) that the cost in firewood crisis regions would be well below $10 USD. The combination of heat-retention cooking and Fuel-efficient wood stoves with the solar cooker is ideal. The solar cooker can do much more than just cooking. It is a peace-creating technology that is so urgently needed.
- November 2014: Comprehensive report on heat-retention cooking prepared by Dieter and Imma Seifert: Notes on Fireless Cooking - Cooking With Retained Heat - Dieter and Imma Seifert
- May 2013: Pioneering couple reflect on the state of solar cooking - For almost forty years, Imma Seifert has been involved in the promotion of solar cooking technology. She has used all the solar cooking devices that her husband Dieter Seifert has designed. Seifert’s solar cookers are today used by thousands of people around the world. For 157 days during 2011, Imma cooked all meals for her family in Germany using the 1.4-meter parabolic SK-14 solar cooker. On many of these days she baked bread and cakes, produced jam and made fruit juices. She combines solar cooking with the use of a retained-heat cooking device. On all sunny mornings, she brings ten liters of water to a boil and keeps it hot for use during the day and evening in an insulated retained-heat container (studies have shown that 1/3 of the energy needed for cooking is required simply to bring water up to a boil). Imma and Dieter are convinced that quality solar cookers are not only helpful in overcoming the firewood crisis, but can reduce poverty in developing countries. They believe that solar cookers should also be used in industrialized countries and have proposed a large solar cooking program in Spain, where currently 50% of the youth are unemployed. They also urge schools to teach solar cooking not only as a clean energy technology, but also as a symbol of global cooperation and sustainable development.
- April 2012: Very encouraging interview by Manolo Vilchez , CEO of alSol - Spain with Dieter & Inma Seifert about their developments and worldwide experiences with the parabolic solar cooker invented by Dieter Seifert in 1983 in Germany. In Spanish. El texto de la entrevista está aquí... - (English version)
Audio and video
- July 2015:
- May 2013: Audio Interview with Dieter and Imma Seifert about the history of the SK parabolic cookers (German)
- July 2006: Audio interview in which Dr. Dieter Seifert discusses how to use CDM to finance solar cooking projects
- NEW: February 2016: Remarks on Stove Technologies - Dieter Seifert
- November 2015: About the Peace-Making Effects of Solar Technologies
- April 2015: How to overcome the firewood crisis - Dieter Seifert
- A cookbook showing how to cook in a parabolic solar cooker - Imma Seifert
- June 1997: Erfahrung mit Solarkochern - Sonnenenergie
Articles in the media
- May 2013: “La cocina parabólica es mucho más que un horno”: Entrevista Imma y Dieter Seifert - ERA Solar
- July 2006: Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) - A Powerful Instrument to Fulfill the UN Millenium Goals - Experiences, Visions and Suggestions - Dieter Seifert
- October 1999: Proposals for A Global Solar Cooker Program - Dieter Seifert
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