A greener way to cook with GoSun solar grill

GoSun, a solar cooker that keeps grilling, baking and boiling even on a rainy day, is storming through its Kickstarter campaign. Cooking stoves, electric ovens, gas
grills, barbeques, even outdoor coal grills, all have their limitations. For starters, everything electric consumes quite a lot of energy in order to cook you a pleasant meal, and even if you opt for anything that is powered by a renewable source, you would still be heavily dependent on the weather.   

There is a novel way of cooking during cloudy days, an outdoorsy gas grill or a standard barbecue that cooks with charcoal, which can be quite dangerous, and produce a lot of smoke. But the worst part of it all is that these things always require someone to be a slave of the grill, constantly monitoring the fire and making sure the food does not burn, while the rest of the people are having a party.  

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Credit: GoSun  

A group led by inventor Patrick Sherwin has posted a Kickstarter project named GoSun Grill, it uses sunlight to charge a thermal battery which in turn is used to cook food inside a glass vacuum tube. The difference between this grill and other solar cookers is that it will continue to work if it gets cloudy out, or even after the sun goes down.  

The name might be a bit misleading, as the grill is actually a solar oven, not a solar powered barbecue grill—food is cooked in an airtight chamber using heat from the thermal battery, rather than directly from the sun. Still, it is a promising idea as the pledge numbers indicate—the GoSun has drawn more than double the original goal.

The draw is that food can be cooked virtually anywhere—the grill is portable (it weighs just 20 pounds)—it can be carried in a special knapsack on the back, without the need for an additional fuel source, and because it can cook rain or shine, it provides the opportunity for a cookout that will not be spoiled by a spell of bad weather. Cooking times vary, of course depending on the weather and the type of food being cooked—from ten minutes to two hours.  

The grill looks similar to other solar cookers, it has the familiar parabolic reflecting shield, but inside it is very different, courtesy of the thermal battery the team developed—it is based on phase-changing thermal wax inside of a polymer coated aluminum case. The team says the idea for the battery came as a result of work being done in Guatemala—they were looking for ways to make cooking easier outdoors during the rainy season.

After a year of testing materials—they started with sand—the team came up with their current concept, a battery that can absorb a lot of heat, and will release it slowly. It allows for cooking food at an even 300 to 400 °F over a period long enough to fully cook a meal. Putting the food inside of a vacuum tube, they add, helps the food retain its moisture and aids in keeping the heat in. Those interested can get one of the grills by pledging just $349, though it should be noted that the battery is an extra $100. There is also an option to buy other accessories. (Source: Phys.org)


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