Solar Cooking
SCI Association Logo.gif
Last edited: 16 August 2017      

Paul Funk at the Solar Cookers International Network Convention in July, 2014.

Paul Funk began to appreciate the importance of cook fire alternatives when he saw women in Tanzania spending 20 hours a week collecting firewood. The experience compelled him to change his master's thesis topic at the University of Minnesota to solar cooking. He continued solar cooking research for his doctorate in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Arizona, where there was more sunshine. His dissertation work eventually led to the development of an international standard “Testing and Reporting Solar Cooker Performance,” published by ASAE.

The test standard allows people to test all three types of solar cookers – parabolic, box and panel types – with inexpensive tools in remote locations. Paul spent three months in a rural village living in a mud hut with a grass roof, so he appreciates that test conditions may not be supported with urban infrastructure or utilities. The test standard can be found at ASAE information on Testing and Reporting Solar Cooker Performance.

The SOS Sport solar oven

A version of Paul Funk's Solar wall oven from the outside

Paul also has designed solar cookers. One, the SOS Sport, is currently in mass production with over 25,000 units sold by the Solar Oven Society. Another design, the Solar Wall Oven, is for do-it-yourself folks and uses internal reflectors to make solar cooking accessible from an indoor kitchen.

As well as the test standard, he has published two peer reviewed journal articles on solar cooking, and has presented papers on solar cooking at seven international conferences.

Paul served on the board of directors of Solar Cookers International from 2000-2002.

In support of his research, he has served solar cooked food to his children and various dinner guests, and so far no casualties!


Determining the solar intercept area, ASABE S580.1

  • December 2013: Technical testing standards for solar cookers updated - The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), based in St. Joseph, Michigan, USA, has revised its solar cooker testing standard. The organization is recognized worldwide for developing voluntary standards for food, agricultural, and biological systems. Often sited in technical reviews, the updated version, written by Paul Funk, will replace the current standards established ten years ago. The goal is to promote uniformity and consistency in the terms and units used to describe, test, rate, and evaluate solar cookers, solar cooker components, and solar cooker operation. However, it is outside of the scope of the standards to factor in cost, durability, and user satisfaction. Review the new standards: ASAE information on Testing and Reporting Solar Cooker Performance


Audio and video[]

  • August 2017:

Webinar - Solar cooker performance evaluation

This webinar was organized by the International Solar Energy Society with assistance of Solar Cookers International. Agenda • Julie Greene (Executive Director, Solar Cookers International) - Overview of solar cooking and responding to the need for solar cooker evaluations • Dr. Paul Funk (Member, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers) - The ASAE S580.1 protocol for Testing and Reporting Solar Cooker Performance • Dr. Alan Bigelow (Science Director, Solar Cookers International) - Implementing the SCI Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) • Anne Patterson (Founder and CEO, Solavore) - The value of solar cooker PEP results: a manufacturer's perspective speakers biographies and more details here:

  • August 2015:
  • July 2014:

Funk- ASAE 581 Standards- updates

  • July 2014:

Funk Solar Cookers Worldwide

  • July 2014:

Funk ISO TAG Solar cookers and safety standards for cookstoves

See also[]


Paul Funk
PO Box 578
Mesilla Park, New Mexico, 88047

Tel.: +1 (575) 526-6381