Solar Box Cookers Only Work When the Sun is Shining – So What?

“By now, I suspect, some of my more skeptical readers will doubtless be jumping up and down, eager to point out that solar cookers aren’t viable everywhere, and only work when the sun’s shining. This is of course true, but it’s also beside the point. Nothing in the appropriate technology toolkit is suited to every context – that’s one of the implications of that word “appropriate,” after all – and nothing ever again in human history will provide our species with the kind of instant, context-free torrent of energy we now get from fossil fuels. Once those are gone, the entire approach to technology that’s built on the assumption of abundant, highly concentrated, highly portable energy supplies goes whistling down the wind, and the approaches – in the plural – that will replace it are going to be less convenient, less portable, and less capable of ignoring the rest of the cosmos than what we’re used to”. Read at the Archdruid Report + solar cooker plans.

Harnessing the Sun: the History of Solar Energy

Printing a journal by solar energy The Archdruid Report discusses some early applications of solar energy by Augustin Mouchot (late 1800s) and Frank Schuman (early 1900s). An overview of historical experiments and applications of solar energy can be found here and here.

Cargohopper

cargo hopper

Cargohopper is an electric road train for package delivery in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Last month, all the energy it consumed was generated by the solar panels while driving (source). This is possible because of its very low maximum speed of 20 km/h or 12 mph. An extra solar panel will be installed on the truck in order to get the same results during the winter season.

The Flying Oven

The flying oven

That is how they call it, and they ask me what I think of it. Honestly, I have no clue.

“This research project proves a new and novel method of winter solar heat gathering. Based on February to December 2008 UK tests, a solarsphere of this type can produce enough heat to make a well insulated house self sufficient in both space heating and hot water.”

Cleantech

An overview of hazardous materials used in solar PV cell production. Via Treehugger.