Solar cooking for everyone

To assist in your effort to make better solar cookers by providing ideas, insights, discussions and feedbacks.


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Prakash Ratnakar Deobhankar commented on Magnar's photo


"I really like this please send me a drawing of this disk to experiment myself."
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Blog Posts

How to reduce CO2 emissions equal to 200 millions cars?

We often hear about how the energy-sector and the transportation-sector contribute to CO2 emissions. But deforestation is in fact the second largest source of CO2-emissions. Of a total of 33,4 Gtonnes, 18% of is due to deforestation in the world. This is actual more than than the total emissions from all the world's planes, ships, trucks, and cars!  (PNAS, UNEP, REDD+)

In Norway we are for the moment discussing CO2 reduction in the range of 8 million tonnes. This is 0,05% of what we need to reduce in order to save the planet. Compared to our population, it is 1,6 tonnes of CO2 per individual and about 50% of what each individual on the planet needs to cut down on CO2. Compared to our total emission, which is 10 tonnes per individual per year, this is 16% of our total CO2 emission. But for many people in developing countries, 1,6 tonnes of CO2 is more than 100% of their total CO2 emissions!  It seems therefore that the richest countries in the world must take on themselves much more responsibility than the poor ones if we are going to succeed.  Politicians are pulling in different directions, and we are only discussing fractions of what we need to do. Where is the global systematic approach of how and where the cut should be made,-  in which sector, in which areas and so on? As I mentioned, deforestation is one of the areas where there is a great potential to cut down on CO2 emissions.  With relatively small investments, I’d like to point out how we can…


Posted by Magnar on May 9, 2014 at 10:30am — 5 Comments

The making of the Kolamba Solar Cooker

The first prototype of the Kolamba Solar Cooker saw daylight already in 2009. It was based on the previous Deep Double Funnel Cooker that I made locally a few years ago in Congo-Brazzaville.

The Kolamba Solar Cooker is a more industrial solar cooker we've made together with Inventas in Kristiansand and with financial support from Innovation Norway and the EVA Center in Kristiansand.  

We started out in our home with small and simple models, and when measuring the temperature, we found that the temperature could reach about 130 C.

My oldest girl was very eager to test it out, and try out some recipes. 

We were curious if we needed the plastic-bag, but we found it to be quite troublesome. No bag could stand the intense heat without becoming crispy, and actually we did not need it to bring water to a boil.

In the first stage the reflector was 1 mm thick and it gave us a big problem for transportation. In the next stage we reduced the reflector to 0,2 mm thickness and also made a portable 6-folded bottom plate. We now had a mobile prototype prepared…


Posted by Magnar on August 9, 2013 at 10:00am

MYSO-2013 / 2013-01-18 CookingChamber :-))

Welcome Everyone SO Enthisiasts to my MYSO-2013 Gallery.

Just rcvd wrom a workshop my Al-welded Cooking Chamber :-))


Posted by EDGAR on January 18, 2013 at 8:38pm

Dear SO Enthusiasts

Dear SO Enthusiasts, Your comments to my new project are warmly welcome. I would like to hear Your oppinions and sugestions ref. to that. With Your kind support most probably I will prevent to make many mistakes. Thanks in advance - Ed

Posted by EDGAR on December 1, 2012 at 5:54pm

Just started MSO 2013 :-))

Hello to All SO enthusiasts :-))

Finally have started to build my new "MSO-2013" - (my solar oven).
I'm not sure how many mistakes I will make this time, since there is NO workshop, but here is a funny little cat, there is not too much space, but a part of a table in my studio, there is NOT everything prepared so far, but here is a great determination to build it and to see it cooking during winter-time. Let us see :-)) RGDS - Ed

Posted by EDGAR on November 29, 2012 at 12:46pm

Havn't been involved for a while but here are the latest details of my solar stuff.

Other things took over so solar was left behind. I did solar dried plums without breaking the plum skin this year and that was a success. (I just had so many at one time that it would have overwhelmed a solar drier.) I just dried them on black landscape fabric under a frost cover of white remay cloth.  I expected mould and problems but they stayed good as long as they were dry and gradually became prunes and really tasty.  In a dry fall, I found it was not the heat but the constant lack of humidity that kept the things from going bad.

So next year I will continue that course of dry and moderate heat with calcium chloride in a solar cooker to keep things dry day and night!  I did a little work on equatorial mount and dripper tracker and equatorial platform and I think they are coming along too. My biggest successes were lean away greenhouse, tcmtech dripper irrigation and pallet gardens with recirculating water/waste water.  (As time permits, I hope to continue the solar too.)  O, I nearly forgot.  Stellarium is a neat astronomy program, so if you set it to your locatioin,   If you click on the sun in it you can set the alt azu for you solar cooker for today, tomorrow at whatever time you like. or you can reset it accurately for an hour ahead of the sun's path.  Really useful.      Thanks Brian

Posted by Brian White on October 28, 2012 at 7:30pm

The Voukana Solar Cooker

In the making of the Voukana Solar Cooker, I was using the same team that made the Deep Double Funnel Cooker in 2009. They started out with paper models and already after second try; the result seemed to be quite satisfactory. The only thing I still am waiting for is some good reflection materials that have some durability in tropical climate. Her smaller brother, the patented Kolamba Solar Cooker is meant for a family of two – six people, but the Voukana Solar Cooker can cook for up to 20 people.  

Voukana also means community in the African language Lari.

The Voukana Solar Cooker is an efficient cooker, even compared to wood-stove and coal stoves. We are often used to wait for hours to have our solar cooked meal. This is fine when everything is well planned and cooking can start in the morning. But often african woman does not have food in the fridge, and have to go to the market to buy food each day.

Finding and cutting wood can also be time-consuming in many places. That means preparation can often not start before noon. With the Voukana Solar Cooker this is not a problem.

The african girl on the picture, Sara, has boiling water within 8 minutes, without even starting to search for wood or coal. Before her African sister has…


Posted by Magnar on October 27, 2012 at 11:00pm — 8 Comments

Latent-Heat solar cooker

“There are a lot of solar cookers out there, but surprisingly not many using latent-heat storage as an attribute to cook the food.” (barbequelovers)  The remark comes from David Wilson, a MIT professor. He has found a way to conserve the energy of the sun by using a Fresnel lens to melt down a container of Lithium Nitrate. Lithium Nitrate is a salt with a melting point 491 F or 255 C, (Wikipedia) which makes it ideal to conserve energy for solar cooking. It even promises to allow for latent-heat cooking up to twenty five hours later. I guess they need a chamber that is well isolated for this!

The boiling point of Lithium Nitrate is 873 C and this suggests that a lot of thermal energy can be stored in the system before the lithium salt begins to evaporate. Salt has typically a high potential to conserve energy at high temperature, and is used in many solar systems to conserve energy and produce energy even at night. Now this is put to practial use in a household Solar Cooker !

For the American market it is suggested to present the Wilson solar cooker with a hybrid system to allow for both propane and solar cooking. This is probably a good idea, but may be they also should consider making them all hybrid due to the fact that you might have hazy days and even rainy days also in emerging markets. Propane is also a very common source for cooking in many middle class households in developing countries. Many households have a whole range of different solutions to be able to cook their food under various conditions. When the sun is hiding, they can use electricity. When there is no electricity they use propane or an electrical generator and when there is no propane available they use charcoal or simply wood. The Wilson Solar Cooker does not seem to be the cheapest solar cooker on the market either, so a dual solution would not be a bad thing I…


Posted by Magnar on November 23, 2011 at 10:00pm

Solar PV System for Domestic Power Generation

Solar PV Electricity generation systems are designed to capture sun’s energy through the photovoltaic cells. The photovoltaic cells are the gateways that trap sunlight and transform it into electrical energy. This energy is then used to power various homes without wasting scarce natural resources as fuel.

The fuel in this case is the abundantly available sunlight. Hence, the solar PV systems installed in homes are sufficient to meet most of the electricity needs. Moreover, the energy bills will get minimized and the domestic users can have a 24 hours uninterrupted electric supply which they can use as a product rather than a service. This means they won’t have to pay on electricity utility bills anymore. It is further interesting to note that PV cells don’t require direct sunlight. They can power your mains even on a cloudy day.

How PV cells work

PV cells are designed in the form of panels that can be attached to your roof at a particular angle. Each PV cell is composed of two distinct layers of silicon which acts as the semi-conducting material. When sunlight strikes on this cell, it produces an electric field around the two layers. The production of electricity from solar PV system depends on the intensity of sunshine.

For instance, on a bright shinning day, you will have more power generation. This amount of energy a photovoltaic cell generates in bright sunlight is measured in kilowatt peak (kWp). Depending upon the usage and installation space, the PV panels are designed in various shapes and colors. The grey solar tile design is more apt for roofs whereas, the transparent cells can be installed on glass and conservatories.

Merits of Solar PV systems

Reduce carbon footprint as solar energy is renewable and doesn’t emit any pollutants like Carbon dioxide into the air. Furthermore, a research has it that a home with PV system…


Posted by Smith edward on July 16, 2011 at 5:00am

Water heating with a plastic bottle.


10 liters transparent plastic bottles can be fond everywhere in Africa and elsewhere as well. Lately I have found a way to heat water with these transparent plastic bottles. If you follow the pictures, I will show you how you can try it out for yourself.


The only thing you have to do is to buy a black plastic bag and find an empty transparent plastic bottle. If the plastic bag has textures on the outside you can turn it inside out.








Put the plastic bag into into the transparent (PET) plastic bottle and fill up a bucket of water.

Then fill up the plastic bag with water. You might also fill some water in the transparent bottle.

Then tilt it backwards towards the sun and let it rest in a optimal position for about six hours. You will find that the temperature of the water will rise slowly up to 50-60…


Posted by Magnar on April 13, 2011 at 4:15pm — 1 Comment



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