Thursday, April 23, 2009

Solar Cooking: The Oven

In December of this past year, volunteer Dana Machovek of Alberta, Canada, donated a Sun Oven to Project Ix-canaan with the understanding that we would be able to use it to demonstrate solar cooking and run workshops in the village to build-your-own solar oven. Since we are now in the hot season, and we are finally getting some sunny days, I dug out the oven to get familiar with it.

The Sun Oven is fully portable ... it folds up into a light, small suitcase size which makes it easier to move in and out when in use.

The metal wings are really easy to flip open (and to close again after use) ... and the oven has a leg at the back to prop it up to get the best angle on the sun ... mostly for morning and evening. I don't really need it because the sun seems to be almost right overhead by the time it clears the trees in front of its location.

Inside, the unit is painted matte black and has a swinging shelf (easily removable for larger pots or bottles) to adjust the angle of the cooking pot if the leg is being used to angle toward the sun.

The temperature guage has been really handy for me while learning to use the Sun Oven. By experimenting, I am learning not only where is the best location in my yard to achieve higher temperatures, but how long it takes to achieve various temperatures at different times of the day. So far, on a hot jungle day (lets say easily 110'F.) in an unobstructed location, and paying attention to move the unit with the sun, I can keep a pretty steady 350'F from about 11 a.m. to about 2 p.m. I moved the oven to another location (closer to the kitchen), and we have been getting a lot of overcast skies the last couple of days from the smoke from the huge fires that are burning down the jungles, so my most recent experiments have been showing about 250'F throughout those hottest hours.

Here is the oven lined up with the morning sun ... about 9 a.m. ... as it comes through the trees that have all lost their leaves for the hot season. About every 1 to 1 1/2 hours I find it necessary to adjust the oven, rotating it to the right (south), for the movement of the sun.

I've been taking advantage of almost every sunny day for the last couple of weeks to do various experiments with different foods and recipes so that I know what will work, given all the local variables, to teach to the village women. Needless to say, I'll be running it all past the blogging community as I figure it out. Stay tuned ...

P.S I'm open to input from those with experience


Great post.

A good website! If you are interested for a partnership (a link exchange or sharing some solar recipes), please visit my website and contact with me: ;) Sunny regards. Romain

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