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Last edited: 4 March 2021      
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Egypt’s first Scheffler Community Kitchen at El Sherouk Farm near Alexandria.
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Scheffler village kitchen
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Solar Energy Enterprises Company manufactures Scheffler-style institutional cookers

Wolfgang Scheffler is the inventor/promoter of the Scheffler Community Kitchen, an Institutional solar cooking system that uses large parabolic dishes that provide the heat for cooking large quantities of food in an indoor kitchen. Over 750 large cookers had been built distributed worldwide by early 2004. Wolfgang Scheffler was the recipient of a Special Recognition Award at the 2006 Nuclear-Free Future Awards ceremony, held at the Navajo Education Center on December 1, 2006.


Wolfgang Sheffler and his colleagues have installed solar reflectors to provide cooking heat in many community kitchens since 1986, mostly in India.[1][2] The concentrating reflectors track the movement of the sun, reflecting the light of the sun and concentrating it on a fixed position.[3] In some configurations the reflected and concentrated sunlight enters a nearby kitchen directly to strike a cooking pot or frying surface.[4] In other configurations, the concentrated sunlight is used first to create steam[5] which is transported by pipes to a nearby kitchen.


A heliostat is a device that reflects sunlight in a fixed direction as the sun moves. Scheffler's heliostat[2] has a concentrating reflector turned by a clockwork powered by gravity or photovoltaic panels. The rotating reflector produces a converging beam of sunlight aligned with its axis of rotation, which is parallel to the axis of the earth. The converging beam of reflected sunlight enters the kitchen through a hole in its wall. When the rotating reflector (in this case the primary reflector) is placed on the polar side of the kitchen, a fixed secondary reflector inside the kitchen redirects the beam upward to the bottom of a pot or frying surface. The rotating reflector turns at a rate of one revolution per day (15 degrees per hour) to keep the reflected beam aligned with the axis of rotation as the sun moves.

Each morning, the operator rotates the concentrating reflector back to a starting position in which the reflected beam is aligned with the axis of rotation of the reflector, and starts the clockwork mechanism. Every few days the operator adjusts the angle between the axis of rotation and the concentrating reflector to accommodate the seasonal variation in the height of the sun. Once the reflected beam is aligned with the axis of rotation of the concentrating reflector and the clockwork is in motion, the reflected beam remains aligned with the axis of rotation all day.

The shape of the concentrating reflector approximates an off-axis section of a paraboloid. The seasonal variation in the height of the sun requires changing not only the angle between the concentrating reflector and its axis of rotation, but also the shape of the reflector.[6] The geometry of the framework supporting the reflecting surface is designed so that the action of changing the angle between the concentrating reflector and its axis of rotation stretches or squeezes the horizontal dimension of the concentrating reflector to flatten it or to make it more dished.

The reflecting surface of the concentrating reflector consists of a number of facets, usually flat glass mirrors. A concrete pad and a welded steel space frame provide support for the concentrating reflector. The area of the concentrating reflectors in the configurations shown above is usually about 10 square meters, delivering approximately 2 kW to the cooking pot or solar receiver.

The reflector may be positioned on the equatorial side of the kitchen. From this position, reflected sunlight travels upward along the axis of rotation, eliminating the need for a secondary reflector.


Scheffler reflectors have been used to make steam for solar steam kitchens in India.[5] The Tirumala temple in the south Indian city of Tirupathithat,[7] for example, uses many Scheffler reflectors to make steam for cooking in a nearby kitchen. In solar steam kitchens, concentrating reflectors are arranged on both the equatorial and polar sides of solar receivers attached to the steam pipes that transport the steam to the kichen.


At least one heat storage system for deferred cooking has been deployed with a Scheffler reflector.[8] The heat store consisted of an iron mass in an insulated container. One end of the iron mass was exposed to the focus of the heliostat during the day, then capped with an insulated lid to save the collected heat for cooking or frying up to 24 hours later.


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Scheffler Community Kitchens installed by DayStar volunteers at the Amarnath shrine, Photo credit: Mirror Now
  • July 2022: Solar power and zero-waste for Amarnath - Volunteers with DayStar Solar Cooking Solutions have completed a sizable mission to install six parabolic solar cookers along the route to several high altitude temples in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, India, as well as removing 1,500 metric tons of waste from the surrounding hillsides. Two of the largest solar cookers are Scheffler Community Kitchens located at Amarnath, along with four Prince-15s, two along the Baltal route and two along the Pahalgam route. This is to spread awareness against waste left behind and generated by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visiting the revered cave shrine annually. Sunil Chouhan, the Director and Founder of Daystar, states the aim of this project is to make Amarnath Yatra, the benchmark of cleanliness and sustainability.” Read more
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Deepak Gadhia, with Pranav and Bharat Gadhia, are on hand for the Scheffler reflector replacement at the [ Green Campus at Vankuva School
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The Muni Seva Ashram, has converted its steam-based Scheffler solar cooking array to use thermic fluid to be able to provide nighttime cooking. - Photo credit: India Herald
  • December 2016: Ashram switches from steam to thermic fluid solar cooking - The Muni Seva Ashram, located in Goraj, Vadodara, India, has converted its steam-based Scheffler solar cooking array to use thermic fluid, with heat storage capabilities, to be able to provide nighttime cooking. This is the first such conversion in India, where many existing Scheffler reflector systems are currently in use. The new thermic fluid system also provides the ability to roast, bake, and fry foods, within comfort of the kitchen, not possible with the steam-based system. Read more...
  • April 2015: Omani students build solar cooker that feeds 100 people - Times of Oman
  • January 2012: Patricia McArdle attended a workshop dealing with the construction of Scheffler Community Kitchens in Dhule, India: Read her report.
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Scheffler Community Kitchen array at the Jamhuriat High School for Girls in Kabul, Afghanistan
  • May 2010: A Scheffler Community Kitchen is currently being installed at the Jamhuriat High School for Girls in Afghanistan, through the efforts of Solare Brücke. Located in the heart of Kabul, it is planned to be operational in June. Of the current enrollment of 1000 girls, the new kitchen will serve approximately 700 students who have lunch at the school each day. Everyone there looks forward to stopping using the wood-fired kitchen stove, and are quite proud that the entire new solar kitchen has been produced in Afghanistan.

Locations of installations

Tracking systems

Main article: Solar tracking

Audio and Video

  • July 2015:
Scheffler mirror demonstrations.wmv
Wolfgang Scheffler explains the workings of two of his automatic tracking parabolic cooking systems, and the design of his solar food dryer. Scheffler mirror demonstrations.wmv
  • June 2015:
National Geographic Channel India 's Megakitchens 28 June 2015 21min 57sec 11 30am
The documentary that was relayed on National Geographic Channel on Our Shirdi Solar System titled Mahakitchen National Geographic Channel India 's Megakitchens 28 June 2015 21min 57sec 11 30am
  • October 2011:
Largest Solar Cooking System Saving 7,000 Dollars A Month - YouTube.flv
Largest Solar Cooking System Saving 7,000 Dollars A Month - YouTube.flv

Adding thermal storage

Main article: Heat storage

Articles in the media

  • September 2010: Global bid to tackle cooking smoke - BBC Mobile
  • November 2009: Beyond Zero Emissions interviews Transcript (Thousands of Scheffler Community Kitchens are now installed at hundreds of locations around the world. Wolfgang Scheffler has made his dish designs and associated intellectual property available for free to create a solar world.)

See also


See Wolfgang Scheffler.Wolfgang Scheffler


  1. Biographical note on Wolfgang Scheffler, Retrieved on 2009-2-24.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Solare Bruecke ,Scheffler's web site.
  3. Scheffler Community Parabolic Solar Cooker,Ghadia Solar's overview
  4. First Solar Community Kitchen in Nepal Photographs of the interior of the cooking shed of a Scheffler solar kitchen
  5. 5.0 5.1 Steam cooking system, Ghadia Solar Energy Systems.
  6. The Scheffler Reflector Describes the geometry of the support that squeezes or stretches the reflector.
  7. India's Temples Go Green Time magazine, July 7, 2008.
  8. Installation of a heat storage system at the Baha'i Vocational Institute for Rural Women. Good photos of reflector frames, mounts, clockwork mechanism, and heat storage system.
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