Solar Cooking
Last edited: 26 April 2022      

Patricia McArdle teaching Honduran soldiers to solar cook in 2008

STAR-TIDES is an international, information-sharing research project that promotes sustainable, affordable support to stressed populations—post-disaster, impoverished, or post-war in a domestic or foreign context for short- or long-term operations, with or without military involvement. It is an international research project to promote unity of effort among diverse organizations where there is no unity of control.

As such it seeks to build bridges across boundaries between business, civil society and government stakeholders who are working toward common goals. The group focuses on seven infrastructures: shelter, water, power, integrated solar and combustion cooking, cooling/ lighting/heating, sanitation and information & communications technologies (ICT). The project aims to provide reach back “knowledge on demand” to decision-makers and those operating in the field. Medical support will be added in the future. All information collected will be made available in the public domain, with the goal of building the broadest possible communities to suggest innovative solutions to support those who are dealing with real world situations.

[This text was borrowed from]


The TIDES project (Transportable Infrastructures for Development and Emergency Support) is a research effort to encourage information sharing and develop Communities of Interest to support populations in stressed environments. Such environments include Stabilization and Reconstruction (SSTR), Humanitarian Assistance-Disaster Relief (HADR), and Building the Capacity of Partner Nations (BPC). Phase I of TIDES included demonstrations in Oct-Nov 2007 at the National Defense University (NDU) and the Pentagon’s center court. TIDES is one part of a broader effort called STAR (Sustainable Technologies, Accelerated Research).

  • TIDES-related environments include: domestic and foreign, short term (disaster relief) and long term (displaced persons), military involvement, or not. Each has different needs.
  • DoD usually is not in the lead for these efforts, but often supports others, such as DHS/FEMA domestically, and the State Department/USAID/OFDA overseas.
  • TIDES does not try to address all problems in these situations, but focuses primarily on seven infrastructures: Shelter, water, power, integrated cooking, cooling/lighting/heating, sanitation and Information & Communications Technologies (ICT). Medical support will be added in the future.
  • The goal is to build the broadest possible communities to suggest innovative solutions to support those who are dealing with real world situations.
  • Participation in TIDES does NOT imply endorsement by the US govt.

TIDES’ focus is on information sharing and low-cost, transportable infrastructures, not the capital-intensive infrastructures of the developed world, or the deployable, integrated (and expensive) ones used by the military. TIDES infrastructures should be able to be turned over to the affected populations at the end of an operation.


Pat McArdle presents solar/integrated cooking information at STAR-TIDES 2022. Photo credit: Pat McArdle

  • NEW: April 2022: Pat McArdle hosted an exhibit on solar/integrated cooking at the STAR-TIDES expo on the grounds of George Mason University in northern Virginia, USA in mid-April. The purpose of this civ/mil entity is to identify low-cost, sustainable solutions for supporting distressed populations damaged by disasters, war, or poverty and to share this knowledge openly with anyone, including military, government, non-government, and civilian agencies. She built a sixteen brick rocket stove and made a retained heat container using a plastic storage bin and some blankets. In spite of the windy weather, solar and other integrated cooking concepts were successfully presented. From 2013 to 2020 the U.S. Army sent Pat three times to Central America to teach solar cooking during military disaster exercises. She used the Cookit for all of those exercises since it was the lightest and most portable solar cooker at that time.
  • March 2014: Pat McArdle was interviewed for the feature story in this month's edition of the TIDES (Transformative Innovation for Development & Emergency Support) newsletter. She describes her role, and that of Solar Cookers International, to introduce solar cooking to, as Pat puts it, "people in sun-rich countries in the developing world who were running out of wood to burn." Solar cooking was unknown in this part of the world at the time. Many of the early projects were started in the late eighties. She also explains how solar cooking is a key component of the practical integrated cooking method. Read the interview...
  • October 2011: Patricia McArdle, of Solar Cookers International, demonstrated solar cooking with Afzal Syed and volunteers, Sherry and Cecily, at the TIDES exhibit on the campus of the National Dense University. Afzal brought several pots of raw ingredients for Pakistani dishes that were prepared by his wife Samina, including: masoor dall, spiced potatoes, okra, and chawal rice. Patricia baked a loaf of banana bread, which was consumed in less than five minutes. They used the parabolic SK10 (similar to the SK12), purchased from Deepak Gadhia several years ago, to keep a pot of water boiling from 9 a.m. in the morning until the event ended at 5 p.m. There were a number of senior military visitors from other countries. Several have expressed an interest in learning more about solar cooking technology and how it can be used in their countries. The most surprising visit yesterday was from a Vietnamese general, the most senior Vietnamese military officer to visit the U.S. since before the war with Vietnam started in the sixties. Several 'very important people' who came to the demonstration assumed that it would take us 10 to 12 hours to cook food in a panel or box cooker. They were astounded that the food was cooked in less than three hours--in October-- in Washington, D.C.--which is 40 degrees north of the equator.

Patricia McArdle and volunteer Cecily, remove Pakistani okra from a CooKit panel cooker at TIDES 2011.

Afzal Syed opens a pot of Pakistani dall at TIDES 2011

Everything was cooked by one p.m. and gone by 2 p.m. at TIDES 2011

People continue to be amazed--especially that it takes only twenty minutes to boil a pot of water at TIDES 2011.

Audio and video[]

  • November 2020:

Nutrition, Public Health, Integrated Cooking, Day 2- Panel, STAR-TIDES 2020, Oct 21

Converging Approaches to Sustainable Resilience

  • June 2015:

Star Tides 4 Solar Cookers

Our last series on the STAR-TIDES expo in Washington, DC continues with technology available for emergency crisis and disaster relief. VOA’s Carolyn Turner talked with Solar Cookers International about their exhibit displaying how to cook with only the sun - Voice of America

December 2012:

  • July 2011:


Patricia McArdle is interviewed about solar cooking at the 2011 TIDES demonstration of alternative energy in Washington D.C. The annual event brings together government and private-sector organizations to share professional knowledge and field experience.

See also[]

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Email: Contact page
Twitter: @STAR_TIDES