How to Build a Parabolic Solar Cooker

Solar cooker
  • 2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-300
What You'll Need
A concave dish (for example, discarded satellite)
Receiver/ antenna
Anodized, mirror-finished, reflective aluminum sheet
12-inch bicycle rims along with the metal tubing
Safety goggles with dark lenses
Measuring tape
Pencil and notepad for noting measurements

A Parabolic solar cooker works with the help of the energy provided by the sun. This is not only cost effective, since no gas or electricity will be used, but such cookers are easily built and maintained. There are many advantages of using the parabolic solar cooker as they are not only cost-effective, but they are also environmentally friendly and do not add to global warming or deforestation.

In remote areas, the firewood can be saved and polluted water can be distilled when such a cooker is used. Building it requires basic calculations and some planning. In order to build a parabolic solar cooker, follow the simple steps described below.

Step 1 - Understand How the Parabolic Solar Cooker Works

In order to make a parabolic solar cooker it is important to know how it functions. The sun’s rays are reflected by the reflective material in the three–dimensional parabolic cooker to a single point known as focus. When a cooking pot that has been painted black in color is placed at the focus, it takes in all the heat energy being reflected at this point. The heat energy is then used to cook or boil food or any other item placed in the pot.

Step 2 - Take Necessary Precautions

Wear safety goggles with dark lenses to protect your eyes. The reflective material being put on the cooker may reflect ultraviolet rays of the sun directly into your eyes causing damage.

Step 3 - Measure the Dish

Once you have located a concave shaped dish, measure the dish and look for the point where its focus lies. Measure the depth (y) and length (x) of the parabola. Note down the measurements. Once the measurements have been taken, use them in the formula: x2 = 4ay. In the formula “y” is the depth, “x” is the length and “a” is focus. Let us assume the depth is six feet and the length is 10 feet. Then your answer would be a = 4.16 feet.

Once you know where the focus lies, half of your work is already done. If, however, you are using a satellite dish with the receiver already attached to it, you won’t have to go through the hassle of calculating the focus point as the receiver in the dish is placed at the focus.

Step 4 - Apply Reflective Material

Now use the aluminum sheet and line your dish with it. The sheet must first be cut into narrow triangles with sides of not more than 10 inches. Once these pieces have been glued to their respective places, move to the next step.

Step 5 - Place the Black Cooking Pot

Use a discarded bicycle rim, which has metal tubing attached to it, as a pot holder. The metal tubing will keep the rim and the cooking pot at the same level. Place it in the parabola over the focus point. Place the grate on top of the rim so the pot may sit on the rim in a stable manner. Now place the pot on the point of focus. Your parabolic solar cooker is now ready to be used.