The power of the sun is obvious and the concept behind a solar oven is not very sophisticated. We aren’t supposed to leave pets (or babies) in cars on sweltering days because, well, the car becomes a giant solar oven.Our oven isn’t much more than an efficient heat capturing box.
I attended a workshop sponsored by Rotary Club Granada and led by two Nicaraguan women who were trained by an NGO from Switzerland. The ovens are wooden boxes, insulated, and lined with reflective, heat absorbing metal. They also have an angled cover to direct sunlight onto the cooking surface, which is covered by two pieces of glass. The who unit is mounted on a stand with wheels, so that its position can be rotated with the sun.
These ovens are not meant to replace completely gas cooking because of obvious limitations such as weather, time, and maximum temperature. However, they are commonly used to cook foods that take a lot of time - therefore gas - and that don’t require high maximum temperatures. In Nicaragua, this means rice and beans. However, we have also heard it is easy to cook fish and we fried an egg.
As we continue to play with our finished product, we are looking for ways to create biogas from chicken manure and water. We have already outfitted a digester, so come back for updates…