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23 July 2008

Look what DHL delivered:

Big box

“What’s in there?” asked Impera. I cut open the tape on one side and started sliding the contents out.

“!!! Is it another computer?” (The girl does not see how having 3 laptops and one desktop is enough for our family. She keeps trying to appropriate on of them [as in, “Can you please pass me my computer?”], but it isn’t working.

Nope. Not another computer, something better:

solar oven!

A solar oven!

The Consort and I built one many years ago, when we lived in the group house (pre-kids, that is), and we used it. Earlier this year, we came across a company that produces these for developing countries (many women in places like Guatemala and India develop lung problems because they spend hours cooking with fume-y fuel in unventilated rooms), and also sells some in the US. The proceeds from US sales goes towards the ones they donate to women in need in other parts of the world. We decided it would be better to buy from a company like that than just make our own.

After several months of waiting, and us thinking that we had lost our money, we finally received the oven. Did you see? It comes with two cooking pots (dark, to absorb more heat) and an oven thermometer (more for the pasteurization of water, which is something else their ovens are used for in the developing world — providing an easy way to create healthy water for people).

I sure wanted to start using it right away! Sadly, it was not to be:


Thunderstorms and rain are predicted for the next several days. I’ll let you know when I get a chance to use it.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Three of Four permalink
    23 July 2008 10:38 am

    Wow! How does it work (beyond the obvious “sun heats up the box”)?

  2. 23 July 2008 10:39 am

    That is so cool. I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  3. 23 July 2008 1:14 pm

    ooooh i would love one of those! it doesn’t really get hot enough here though unfortunately.

  4. 23 July 2008 1:43 pm

    hey, where’d you get it? There’s no shortage of solar power down here!

  5. 23 July 2008 1:57 pm

    You can build the Fun-Panel solar cooker in less than an hour from half of a cardboard box and a few feet of aluminum foil.

    Tom Sponheim
    Solar Cookers International

  6. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    23 July 2008 3:14 pm

    Three of Four: Mostly, the sun heats up the box — mostly.

    Marsha: Me neither! But it looks like rain, rain, rain all week.

    B: It isn’t heat as much as sun rays. You’re about 9 degrees farther north than Minneapolis, where this manufacturer is located, so you probably couldn’t use it as long, but I bet you could use it some! Also, the oven can be tilted at 30 degrees (what you see in the picture) or at 60 degrees (flip it on its back; better for times when the rays aren’t as direct). I would say make one — maybe check out that guy Tom’s site?

    Stew: Well I wanted to try it out before saying (we had a bit of a snafu with them), but it is solaroven(dot) org. I bet you could cook for a long time with it, yes, indeedy!

    Tom: Indeed. We have made one in the past. But this way, it was more like a working donation to a worthwhile cause.

  7. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    23 July 2008 3:17 pm

    I just went and checked the link Tom left — Now, the one we made (back in the day) also was silver. However, we noticed the heat went up higher after we lined the bottom with a black scarf (to absorb the rays). Just FYI for anyone who is interested in trying one out.

  8. pierre l permalink
    23 July 2008 4:31 pm

    Having spent a summer in Minneapolis (around 1974), working for Control Data, I remember getting out of my hotel room and needing sun-glasses because it was so bright. I have never felt that need in the UK. By the way, I still have a soft spot for the Twin Cities (but that’s where the manufacturer if from, not you Imperatrix, so I’m a bit off-topic).

  9. 23 July 2008 5:37 pm

    I can’t wait to hear about how it works! I would love to try one except we don’t get a lot of sun on our deck.

  10. 24 July 2008 2:03 pm

    I’m definitely interested for more than just cooking. You never know when you may have to pasteurize water…

  11. 25 July 2008 5:40 am

    I remember seeing one of these years ago at an alternative energy fair in Wisconsin. It would be out of the question here, although if they’d make one that runs on wind power, that would work just fine most of the time.

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