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Comparative tests of solar box cookers

by the European Committee for Solar Cooking Research (ECSCR) Almeria, Spain. 1994. Editorial extracts.

Solar cookers on the market are very different in size, type, performance and user friendliness and until now comparative data has not been available. To give full information, tests have to be conducted within specific user contexts. However, before going into such field tests there are some important features of solar cookers which can be tested independently of a specific user context:

• thermal performance - how quickly does a cooker heat up, what temperature does it reach in given conditions?

• user friendliness - is the cooker safe, how easy is it to use, to assemble, to transport?

These and other features were studied in the tests conducted at the Plataforma Solar de Almeria by the ECSCR in Spain in 1994. The tests were performed by the Zentrum fur Sonnenenergie and Wasserstoff-Forschung of Germany, and funded by the German Research Ministry. A total of 13 solar box cookers from eight different countries, (France, Germany, Ghana, India, South

Africa, Spain, Switzerland and USA) were tested.

They were tested around noon during a clear day, for speed of heat-up (heat-up time) to 80°C and to boiling minus 3°C. Where possible, cookers were realigned to the sun every half hour, although they can be used all day without tracking and just one realignment.

Table 1 shows, as an example, the test results for two of the stoves described in this edition of

Boiling Point and Table 2, the results for two others. Results of all the tests on the box and concentrator stoves (25) tested are given in the Summary of Results, June 1994 available from ECSCR.

The European Committee for Solar Cooking Research (ECSCR) was founded in 1991. It has set out to improve the situation in solar cooking before the end of the century.

Its philosophy is to bring together users on one side, and individuals and institutions active in solar cooking research and development on the other side; to put solar cooking efforts on a more objective basis; to tackle the problem by a parallel procedure of development of better cookers and a better understanding of the user situation.

Contact: European Committee for Solar Cooking Research (ECSCR), Office of the Co-ordinator, c/o Synopsis, Route d'Olmet, F-34700 Lodeve., France Tel. +33 67440410, Fax: +33 67440601

Table 1

Table 2