This article features solar oven facts that explain how the technology works and its comparable advantages and disadvantages to conventional cooking. We'll also describe why we think the GoSun makes the best solar ovens.
The Cutting Edge of Solar Technology
The GoSun's patented solar cooking technology can bake, boil or fry a meal using nothing but energy from the sun, even in clouds, wind and freezing conditions. Heating up to 550°F/280°C while staying cool to touch, the stove's performance is only made possible from a combination of ideal materials and clever engineering.
Let's take a look inside:
Solar Oven Facts: The Solar Vacuum Tube
The core of GoSun Technology is with the vacuum tube cooking chamber, which absorbs light while acting as a perfect insulator. We think of it as a physics hack, one of thermodynamic’s only free lunches.
A perfect insulator? That’s right. Between the tube’s two layers of borosilicate glass (wiki link), is a pocket of beautiful nothing (AKA outer space). Heat requires a medium to transfer. Without a thermal bridge, the heat absorbed by the stove collects rapidly.
How is the heat absorbed? Great question! The internal face of the tube is coated in three layers of metal: aluminum nitride, stainless steel, and copper. Placed on the inside of the vacuum (away from your food), these three layers work in unison to trap both viable light and ultraviolet, allowing one to cook in a light overcast.
- Aluminum Nitride: An absorber common in the semiconductor industry with fantastic energy absorbing properties.
- Stainless Steel: Moves heat evenly, cooking food cooking from 360°.
- Copper: Reflecting heat, in the form of infrared radiation, back into the tube.
What is borosilicate glass? Borosilicate glass is known for its chemical and thermal resistance, making it a go-to choice for bakeware, LED lights, and lab equipment.
So this is high-tech, right? This technology is new but not cutting edge. GoSun founder and solar energy expert, Patrick Sherwin, got the idea while working with a solar vacuum tube water heater. The tubes used for solar hot water heaters have been known to last decades on roofs around the world.
Solar Oven Facts: Compound Parabolic Reflectors
Compound parabolic reflectors concentrate light from a variety of angles onto the cooking tube. This means that there's little need to re-adjust the stove while cooking and even diffused light (such as light going through clouds) can be focused on the tube.
Roland Winston invented the first compound parabolic concentrator (CPC) in 1974, a breakthrough technology in solar energy. His discovery has now been used extensively in solar energy collection, wireless communication, and biomedical research.
Solar Oven Facts: Cook Times With Our Solar Cookers
Solar cooking times vary but this chart will help you figure out what to expect when dealing with the weather.
Heat Bank Technology (GoSun Grill Only)
This simple innovation allows the GoSun Grill to cook steadily with inconsistent sunlight and in some cases, cook small meals or leftovers without sunlight. The Grill’s tubular oven chamber is designed with a highly conductive aluminum chassis. While in sunlight, it channels heat into a heat bank underneath the tray. This heat bank allows you to store heat until you're ready to use it, meaning once up to temperature, the Heat Bank will help guarantee a consistent cook, even when the sun is lacking.
We hope these solar oven facts were useful and we can't wait to partner with you in the quest to produce delicious solar cooked food.