Testing station for solar cookers

Solar Cookers International developed a testing station to collect data in a performance evaluation process (PEP) for solar cookers. This innovation is based on commercially-available, low-cost components: thermocouples, an anemometer, a pyranometer and Arduino hardware. This innovation measures temperature increase in a quantity of water, proportional to cooker aperture area, while monitoring wind speed and incident solar radiation. This innovation will be open source, to benefit the sector.

At a Glance

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About This Innovation

Innovation Stats

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How does your innovation work?

The innovation uses commercially-available components controled by an Arduino hardware platform for data acquisition during performance evaluations of solar cookers.  The testing station can evaluate several solar cookers simultaneously.  Results are stored on an SD card for easy upload to a loptop computer.

Do you have current users or testers?

The testing station was demonstrated at the 6th SCI World Conference in India in January 2017, using six different solar cookers brought to the meeting for display.  Otherwise, SCI is testing internally in a pilot-project mode.

What is your innovation's value proposition?

This innovation will benefit customers, manufacturers, and project leaders.  It answers the need in the solar cookiung sector for a neutral and independent agency to evaluate solar cookers.  This innovation will provide quality rating for comparing solar cookers, which is expected to drive the sector and assist mass adoption of solar cooking.

Target results and impact

We expect that the SCI PEP testing station will provide consistant results from any solar cooker performance evaluation, independent of the location and time of year of the test. Data is normalized according to incident solar radiation. This will be a benefit commercial solar cooker designs and also make feasible the testing of locally-built solar cookers.

What Evidence do you have that your Innovation works?

We have gathered preliminary data that matches well with expected theoretical predictions.

Provide a status update for your Innovation.

Pilot testing in progress using two units

What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?

Following validation of the evaluation protocol, the current plan is to make the design plans open source. Solar Cookers International will forward its recommendation to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves that this innovation be used as a standard testing platform for evaluating solar cookers world wide.

Next Steps

SCI is adding a GPS unit to the system for keeping track of location and altitude.  An assembly manual is being created in anticipation of the making the design open source.

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