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John Grandinetti's evacuated tube solar cooker

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You have probably all seen the KITV video (I came across it on on John Grandinetti's solar cooker design (numerous discussion links, heres one: ).

It is based around an evacuated tube collector fitted in a parabolic solar trough, and uses vegetable oil as the heat transport mechanism into his box cooker. John claims 400F peak temperatures, and 300F capable in some overcast conditions. His solar collection area appears to be about 6' x 3', or 18sf total. The report states John is willing to give the design away to anyone who is willing to mass produce it and sell them into 3rd world countries.

Has anyone seen a detailed set of plans for John's solar cooker?

Also, does anyone know where to source 6' long evacuated tube solar collectors in small/individual quantities?

I came across replacement tubes requiring a minimum order of 10, for about $200 (+ freight) which would seem to mesh well with John's prediction that the main expense for the cooker would be about $21 (it's a bit unclear whether he is referring to the tube's price, or all material costs for his design).

It would be nice to add his design to this site. I don't know a lot about solar cookers, but it seems to have a few nice features: large collection area; high claimed temperature; looks nearly impossible to unintentionally expose eyes/bodyparts to highly concentrated sunlight; cooking is done at stovetop level. The biggest drawback seems to be it is built around a specialized component, but if that component can be found readily available in the sub $30 range it might not be a big detractor depending on the area of deployment.

Anyway, I'd love more information, so if anyone has links I'd appreciate seeing them.


I've seen the cooker. While it is very large and unwieldy and made from high-tech materials, I think the use of the evacuated tube heating vegetable oil is an interesting innovation. Mike, can you create a page about this cooker? Thanks. Tom Sponheim 20:27, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd be willing to, but I don't think I have enough information as yet to post anything more coherent than what I listed in this post. I'm certainly not a solar energy / solar cooking expert. From the present information available it doesn't make for a useful page. -Mike
Digging around, it appears to be a significant refinement of Whiller's innovative 1965 indirect cooker. See here: The page reports Whiller's design performed poorly. It also mentions a Brace Research Institute Cooker design which I will need to chase down some information on. From all indications John Grandinetti has been in the solar business for quite a while, so it wouldn't make much sense for him to trot out a failed design and hype it up, especially since he doesn't make a pitch for money in his interview. -Mike
You seem to know a lot about this type of cooker. Can you add a page on it and add the information that you've written above? Tom Sponheim 01:51, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Extremely rough start of the page is here: Evacuated Tube Indirect Cooker. There are lots of todo's on it.

Thanks so much! Tom Sponheim 00:07, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

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