The sunny side to cooking

The parabolic-dish cooker was the focus of attention.

The parabolic-dish cooker was the focus of attention.  

It looks like a sophisticated satellite dish antenna at first sight. But then, you are told that this contraption can cook.

There were many raised eyebrows at a one-day exhibition at the VJT Hall, which was organised as part of the State-level awareness campaign for popularising solar cookers. This was organised by the Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (Anert) and the Centre for Consumer Education.

The centre of attention was the `concentrating type parabolic dish solar cooker'_ billed as a fast-cooking solar device with an `aperture diameter of 1.4 metre and a focal length of 0.28 metre'.

This cooker has to be manually focussed on the sun, once every 20 minutes, and it can, depending on the intensity of sunlight, deliver temperatures ranging from 300 to 350 degrees centigrade. According to the Anert personnel, this cooker can be used to `boil, roast and fry and has a thermal efficiency of 40 per cent'. Twenty to 30 people are said to have signed up for purchasing the cooker that is priced at Rs. 5,000.

Also on display were box-type solar cookers, already available in the market. Visitors to the fair were briefed on the fast-rising prices of petroleum-based cooking fuel and how solar cookers can be a smart option.

Visitors were also given such not-so-widely-known facts regarding solar energy. For instance, they were told that the solar energy received by the earth in three hours is equivalent to the world-wide energy consumption in one year, that if three per cent of Indians go solar in their cooking, 3.2 million tonnes of wood can be saved and that this would mean a reduction of 6.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

There is, after all, a sunny side to cooking!

By Mahadevan G

Photo: S. Gopakumar

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