Solar cooking is a method of purifying water that allows people to be empowered by disinfecting it at home. It is affordable, safe, and efficient. This past summer I tested my own handmade solar cookers to see how much water they could truly disinfect – if they were up to the task at all. The images above are solar cookers that I made using aluminum foil and cardboard.
Solar cooking disinfects small water samples using the sun’s rays. In the lab, two different types of solar cookers were evaluated to find the best shapes and results for disinfecting water. What we found was that the small parabolic cooker had the highest efficiency, utilizing about 6% of the sun’s energy on its best day which allowed it to disinfect water in just 37 minutes. In an average day with sun and partial clouds, this cooker could produce over 16 liters of safe water, which is nearly the water requirement for one person per day (20 L/person/day). Hopefully with further research we can develop a model that produces more than enough water for one person in one day.