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Last updated: 30 April 2018      
SolSource Solar Stove with Cookware

SolSource, a consumer parabolic solar cooker

Shirdi roof collector array

An array of Scheffler parbolic cookers installed on the Shirdi Saibaba temple in Shirdi, Maharashtra, India

Parabolic solar cookers use a parabolic-shaped reflector to direct sunlight to a small area in order to generate heat for cooking. They are able to reach high temperatures, 350 °C (662 °F) or higher, which allows them to be used for grilling and frying. These temperatures are significantly higher than what can be reached by a solar box cookers or solar panel cookers and allow the cooking times on a parabolic cooker to be comparable to a conventional stove, such as an electrical or gas burner.

The amount of food being cooked and the way in which the heat is used is generally dictated by the size of parabolic dish. Smaller dishes, which are generally around one meter in diameter, are intended to heat a traditional size pot or pan much like how you would cook on a traditional cooktop. The larger dishes, which can be as wide as five meters in diameter, are generally not used to heat a pot or pan directly, but instead are used to create steam by directing sunlight onto pipes carrying water. The steam is directed to cooking surfaces in a kitchen and is regulated by valves in order to offer control to the chef.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages

  • Cooking times are similar to a traditional stovetop
  • High temperatures allow for food to be fried and grilled

Disadvantages

  • Requires periodic adjustment to refocus it as the sun moves or a mechanical solar tracking apparatus
  • Generally more expensive than panel and box cookers

What can you cook?

Parabolic solar cookers generally operate at very high temperatures so they are ideal for frying, grilling, and boiling food. You can also bake breads and other baked-goods in a parabolic cooker. While they don't easily offer slow-cooking capabilities, they can be paired with a retained-heat cooker to prepare foods which call for longer cooking times at lower temperatures, such rice, beans and many other foods.

See also:

Resources

Documents

Calculating the parabolic curve

  • February 2017: Jose Antonio Gutierrez Guerra has provided an interactive parabolic curve calculator for those interested in designing their own reflectors. It can be used for both parabolic dish and trough style designs. Parabola-Focus-Directrix

See also

All construction plans

All designs

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