Every year SynergyFiles reviews gadgets that utilize renewable energy and have the potential to make significant impact.
This year’s product is the GoSun Sport solar oven. This is a portable product that can be neatly folded and easily carried. It is ideal for baking, steaming or roasting meals for two. It can reach temperatures up to 290 °C within. The beauty of this product is that because of its vacuum tube design, it tends to hold the heat that build up from solar gain. Therefore once high temperatures have been reached, even if it gets cloudy afterwards, the food would still breakdown and cook because of heat retention.
GoSun Sport has a double compound parabolic reflector. The advantage of this is type of reflector is that it does not have to be oriented towards the sun frequently. The acceptance angle for a compound parabolic reflector can range from 25 ° to 45 °. This means that as the sun moves across the sky, even if it is 25 ° away from the ideal angle (at which the rays of sun will reach the cooker perpendicularly), the cooker will still work. This frees up the user from tending the cooker constantly. It is ideal for passive slow cooking food like a roast or a bake.
The down side of the product is the price. Even with static components and relatively uncomplicated desgin, the GoSun Sport has been priced at a whopping $279.
The company GoSun is cashing in on bringing the product first to the market, however it is anticipated that soon it will be priced down by the competitors.
Very similar products are already available in the market for a much lower price ($50). One example is the “Solar Kettle” that is being sold on Amazon by Contemporary Energy Ltd.
It should be understood that solar cookers and ovens work with direct insolation rather than diffuse insolation. Therefore they should be ideally used on a clear day.
These products cannot just provide a fun-filled barbecue on a camping trip but more importantly can solve an age-old problem in the developing world. It should be noted that in many parts of the world, cooking is still carried out by burning straws, sticks and even cow dung. Smoke inhalation can cause a variety of pulmonary diseases. Fortunately, solar cookers provide a smoke free alternative.
Furthermore, many people, particularly women in developing world have to travel far to gather sticks or wood to burn. This is not only a laborious activity but causes a whole host of social and security issues. Solar cookers can alleviate these problem.
Once the price of the cookers comes further down, they can be distributed in bulk by charities in parts of the world where energy poverty is rife.
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