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The Collapsible Parabolic Cooker

The cooker can be folded up accordion style

  • March 2009: Ariel Lerda and Abel Diaz have developed Spanish-language construction plans for a modified version of Teong Tan’s Double-Angled-Twelve-Sided (DATS) solar cooker, which was originally featured in the March 2002 Solar Cooker Review. Their modifications include an alternative pot support structure and a method of assembly that allows for more compact storage of the cooker. Lerda and Diaz also offer tips for making this and other cardboard solar cookers more durable and weather resistant. They have named this cooker the Collapsible Parabolic Cooker. Like the original DATS, this version is comprised of 12 foil-lined cardboard panels, each with a slight bend about three-fifths of the way down, connected in a circular manner to fsorm a shape similar to a parabola. Instead of permanently connecting the 12 panels, Lerda and Diaz opted to hinge them in an inside-outside alternating fashion using pieces of glued fabric, leaving the last panel unhinged but with a series of connectors that can be cinched together with string. This allows the cooker to be folded up accordion style when not in use. The mechanism for cinching together the base of the panels has also been modified. Whereas in the original DATS design the lower, narrow ends of the panels had two “ears” with holes punched in them through which a cinching string was pulled, Lerda and Diaz instead incorporate a series of wires attached to a base plate that protrude through the panels in such a way that a string can be cinched around them, eliminating the need for the ears. To increase strength and durability of cardboard, Lerda and Diaz recommend gluing durable fabric around exposed ends, placing wire between the fabric and cardboard on ends that will be particularly susceptible to damage. They also suggest that gluing two pieces of corrugated cardboard together with the corrugations perpendicular to each other is a simple way to add strength. Construction plans this cooker are available here.
  • December 2008: Con un sol que no se decidía a aparecer completamente, el pasado fin de semana se llevó a cabo el 5to Encuentro de Cocinando con el Sol en el patio central del Centro Cultural Recoleta de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Con lluvias durante las primeras horas de la mañana, las nubes comenzaron a dejar paso a la luz del sol hacia el mediodía para armar los hornos y cocinas, preparar algunos platos y convidar a los que visitaron la muestra. Se cocinaron hamburguesas, chorizos candelarios y risotto, entre otros platos. También se colocó una cocina parabólica en la entrada principal del Centro Cultural. Allí se hicieron exquisitas hamburguesas caseras que se compartieron con la gente como demostración del potencial solar para cocción de alimentos.

Argentina august 2008 parabolic cooker.jpg

  • August 2008: For many years, Fundacion EcoAndina has promoted the concept of solar villages in Jujuy province. Among its accomplishments is the distribution of over 250 solar cookers for family use, 23 solar kitchens for community use, and a number of solar water heating and irrigation devices. Fundacion EcoAndina recently partnered with WISIONS, an initiative of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, to “develop a strategy for the optimal use of carbon credits to make solar equipment affordable for the users.” The initial step is to use new technology to monitor 50 solar cookers in a field test and assess their CO2 reductions. According to its Web site, Fundacion EcoAndina hopes to “develop local human capacity to handle the carbon market,” and to “build an effective incentive structure for the correct and constant use of solar applications.”
  • July 2003: Proyecto Fertil is a small community improvement project in the town of Salsipuedes, Argentina. On the surface, the project aims to help low-income families by teaching solar cooking and advanced gardening skills. As one organizer put it, the larger goal is to create a community "network that sustains us and contains all of us, where responsibility, perseverance, the work and the protagonism of each person is fundamental." Proyecto Fertil, which is funded by Fondo CAMPER of the island of Mallorca, Spain, "seeks to generate food and energy savings, but, above all ... the establishment of a new social framework involving the promotion of values, a productivity in which resources flourish and self-esteem is reinforced, a harmonious contact with nature, and cooperative interpersonal relations." The solar cooking portion of the project energized the community to rally around those values. The project began with the selection of 20 representative families to receive gardening and solar cooking assistance while committing to help spread skills to other community members. Each family was required to send at least two members to the week of training activities, which was led by Manolo Vilchez of Fundación Tierra of Barcelona, Spain. Twenty SK-series parabolic solar cookers, designed by Dr. Dieter Seifert of Germany and paid for by Fondo CAMPER, were shipped to Salsipuedes, and Manolo led the community in assembling them, five or six per day. Each day also included lessons in using the powerful cookers, safety measures and related concerns. Spontaneous enthusiasm sparked a group of participants to gather recycled materials and use them to build a cooker that could bake a loaf of bread in 1 hour and 40 minutes. Finally, 20 new solar cooks prepared 16 different kinds of food in a large cooking demonstration in the streets of Salsipuedes. The solar cooking activities drew large crowds of people from far away, and according to one project leader, the project's next meeting was the most energized in its history. "To maintain this sentiment of readiness, hope, unity, solidarity and production is our task from now forward," another organizer added. Organizers of Proyecto Fertil will continue helping people master solar cooking and expanding the project. Contact: Fundación Tierra
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