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Publication Title | Cooking with Sunshine

Organic Rankine Cycle

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Cookin' with Sunshine Ed Eaton

IIn just a few days, the sun showers us with energy equal to all the earth's fossil fuels. Consider our environment and its condition; using solar energy seems only logical. One way to use the sun is to cook with the energy. We can bake, fry, steam, or even solarque our favorite dish right in our own backyard.

Three styles of solar ovens and a solar cooker. Note the cast iron skillet in the cooker (left) for size reference. The large oven on the right uses mirrors as does the smaller oven at top. The cooker on the left and the oven below use metal reflectors to concentrate solar energy. Photo by Ed Eaton

Brief History

Successful solar cookers were reported in Europe and India as early as the 18th century. The increased use of glass during that period helped inventors to trap heat & hot air. In 1870, Augustine Mouchot invented a fairly portable oven for the French Foreign Legion. It could bake a pound of bread in 45 minutes or 2 pounds of potatoes in one hour.

Around the same time, W. A. Adams developed an eight-sided mirrored oven which reflected light through a glass cone located in the center of the oven. This oven could cook a 12 pound turkey in 4 to 5 hours. This is still a popular design today. We actually use a large model, very similar to Adam's oven. In this oven we can cook 60 pounds of food at a time. Present Times

Home Power #7 • October/November 1988 15

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