Solar Collecting

We can collect and concentrate the sun directly increasing its power using mirrors, reflective or heat absorbing surfaces. We can either use this energy directly or store for later usage.

Cooking directly from solar energy
We can cook directly from the sun by reflecting and concentrating the sun. For example, using a parabolic dish e.g. an old sky satellite dish covered in a reflective material or a low tech opensource Scheffler mirror designed for cooking indoors. The Scheffler mirror has been used for many years in places like India where there is the largest kitchen using 83 parabolic dishes cooking 38K meals for hospitals and schools.

Solar heating water for rooms and water
Using solar collected hot water to heat buildings and for use in showers, washing machines etc. is an easy way to use solar energy. For a simple example putting 100meters of black water pipe on a roof which is exposed to the sun will heat the water inside to high temperature during high sun periods, increasing efficiency using recycled plastic bottles covering the pipe can also be introduced. More permanent designs can be introduced with glass, lenses etc. Heated water can be stored for later use in insulated tanks.

Solar cooking and heating indirectly with oil or water.
If oil is heated in a closed metal pipe it will go to temperatures of approximately 200deg C. Reflecting the suns energy using mirrors to heat oil in a ‘closed loop’ system we can therefore harness this energy and transfer it to cook food, heat rooms, heat water and even generate electricity. The oil is kept in a fixed loop system and can be stored in insulated containers during no Sun periods. The system is relatively easy to set up requiring standard skills and parts. Alternatively, water can be increased in pressure to achieve higher temperatures.

Storing solar energy using stones
Another simple yet effective way to harness solar energy is through heating stones from mirrors so cooking is available when required. Stones can heat to 500deg C and store for many hours if kept insulated. Stones can be constantly heated whenever sun is available thus giving a storage for when the Sun is not available and give flexibility of use.