Cooking with a Parabolic Solar Cooker

A parabolic solar cooker made from an old satellite dish.

Solar ovens are great, as long as the sun is shining brightly they compare well to your oven.  But what about when you want to fry eggs or use the stove top.  There is another type of solar cooker that acts very much like the burners on the top of your stove.  That is the parabolic reflector.

It is a parabolic dish that concentrates light on a specific location.  This will heat a pan up quickly and allow you to fry foods.  It has some definite advantages and some downsides.  The advantages include the following.

  1. It is very quick to heat up.
  2. Works like a burner on a range top.
  3. Unlike a solar oven will let you fry foods
  4. Cooks quickly.
  5. It is easy to make one from an old satellite dish

The disadvantages include

  1. It is larger and harder to move that a solar oven
  2. There is a safety factor, the light it projects will hurt your eyes if you stare at it.
  3. The cooker needs to be stored in a manner that does not let the light hit anything flammable.  It can start fires.

Frying eggs, click on the picture for a close up

To make one is easy, take an old satellite dish and cover it with aluminum foil or another highly reflective surface.  Then set it in the sun and determine the point at which the suns ray concentrate.  At this point, you build a framework to support your pan. Many of the old satellite dishes will already have this in place.  They used it to support electronics.

Set the cooker up and let it face the sun so that the light focuses on the pan.  As soon as the pan heats up, you can start cooking.

Notice the sun hitting the bottom of the pan. The rack the pan is sitting on came with the dish.

 

Howard

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