For their ENVS 353 Alternative Energy Systems' course, Sierra Nevada College students Tiago Galletti, Andrew Jordan, Parker Martin, and Zach Schomp made available to students two solar cookers. One involved improvements to a prototype designed by former Sierra Nevada College President and inventor Ben Solomon. This cooker was improved mainly by sealing the gaps which were releasing heat and by adding insulation around the outside. The other solar cooker was simply made from cardboard, aluminum foil, and glue. The students used the pdf template from the CooKit website which provided a proven design (see #External Links).
Solar cookers can also be used to pasteurize water. Millions of people become sick each year from drinking contaminated water and about 1.3 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, including nearly half the population of sub-Saharan Africa. In many of the most severely affected regions, sunshine is an abundant source of energy. Pasteurizing water makes it safe to drink and can be done at temperatures well below boiling. (71°C or 160°F)
These solar cookers will provide students with an alternative option to microwaving their food or eating the food provided by the cafeteria which is not always the best nor healthiest. We have provided them with recipes (see #External links) and we hope to get momentum going with these ovens in hopes that the school will serve healthier foods.