Last updated: 19 July 2017
Sun Buckets is a commercial enterprise started by students at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois, USA. The company has taken on the the problem of storing solar thermal energy for use in cooking. First the Sun Bucket is heated in the sun. Then using the stored heat, cooking can be accomplished by users at any time of the day. Direct sunlight is not required for cooking, which is typical for most solar cookers. While improved combustion stoves have made advances in reducing fuel consumption, fuel collection and emissions are still a problem.
The Sun Bucket is a sealed container weighing approximately 10kg(22lbs) with a phase-changing latent heat storage material inside. The bucket is placed with a parabolic reflector in direct sunlight for a couple hours, charging the bucket with enough thermal energy for cooking use later in the day or even the next morning. The company reports the buckets may initially reach temperatures of 538°C(1000°F), and then will slowly cool.
The bucket utilizes a top cooking plate of aluminum, on which standard cooking pots and pans may be placed. The developers feel there may be a business model where charged Sun Buckets could be delivered to households for daily use, and traded for the depleted unit.
As of January 2017, the company is conducting final trial field testing, and plan to begin production of units.
- NEW: May 2017: Sun Buckets to Haiti: Sun Buckets has moved into the production mode with units being readied for shipment to southwestern Haiti, with support from Loving Shepard Ministries. However, as of this date, Sun Buckets are not yet available for commercial sales.
- January 2017: Sun Buckets receives environmental award: - The Gulfstream®Navigator Award 2016 was given to the solution that best demonstrates the greatest alignment with the 2016 theme with applicability across multiple industries generating positive impact on the environment, economies or health while respecting cultures around the world. Read more...
Audio and video
- January 2017:
- June 2016:
Email: Sun Buckets contact page