My Project Story
The solar energy flux reaching the Earth’s surface represents a few thousand times the current use of primary energy by humans. The potential of this resource is enormous and makes solar energy a crucial component of a renewable energy portfolio aimed at reducing the global emissions of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. E
ven though the deployment of photovoltaic (PV) systems has been increasing steadily for the last 20 years, solar technologies still suffer from some drawbacks that make them poorly competitive on an energy market dominated by fossil fuels: high capital cost, modest conversion efficiency, and intermittency. From a scientific and technical viewpoint, the development of new technologies with higher conversion efficiencies and low production costs is a key requirement for enabling the deployment of solar energy at a large scale. The solution for reducing the use of fossil fuels can be achieved by the use of solar cookers. Solar Cookers have a long history dating back almost to 18th century when Nicholas-de-Saussure built first ever fabricated solar box cooker. Today there are over 60 major designs and more than 100s of variations . However, the solar cooking has not caught the imagination of the people, except in places where shortage of conventional fuel like fire wood and the like has become very acute. Institutional solar cooking involves cooking for groups with a single integrated solar cooking system, rather than simply using many smaller solar cookers. It may be designed for communal village use, a restaurant or bakery, or large-scale production facilities preparing many thousands of meals per day. The cooking equipment employs basic solar cooking principles, and takes advantage of economy of scale. Steam production is also an option for institutional solar cooking systems, allowing the cooking to take place indoors.
One of the most familiar examples of institutional cooking have used Scheffler reflector technology to heat water to create steam for cooking. Installations at religous shrines, such as those at Tirupati and Shirdi in India, illustrate the prodigious cooking capability of this approach. The system at the Shirdi shrine uses 73 parabolic reflectors mounted on the kitchen rooftop, and prepares food for 20,000 devotees daily. It is in use over 300 days per year. The remaining days it uses the back-up wood fired boiler, which had been their sole source for cooking until January 2011.
Another example of concentrating parabolic reflector technology is used at the Auroville Solar Kitchen, a collective kitchen for the Auroville community, an “experimental” township in the Viluppuram district, in Tamil-Nadu, India. It serves lunch daily in its dining hall, and sends lunches out to schools and to individuals as well. It derives its name from the large Auroville Solar Bowl on its roof, which provides the steam for cooking on all the sunny days of the year. Back-up steam, if needed, is provided by a diesel fired boiler