Ashok Kundapur

( To learn more about Author Click here  )

This is a HTML version of the Review paper which appeared in TIDE, Vol 8, No. 1, March 1998 Page 1-37. This review is now presented here in 12parts.

This site has been selected as one of the best educational resources on the Web by StudySphere. StudySphere is one of the Internet's fastest growing sites of educational resources for students, teachers and parents. StudySphere has scoured the Internet to select only the finest sites to be included within its listing of educational links.


This site helps you to find out if your design of Solar Cooker is a new design and if it works or not.


(The cartoon is from Prof Bernard's little book on Solar Cookers " La cuisson Solari Facile". Published by Jouyence Silence. France, reproduced here with his and publisher's permission )



This review presents about 60 major designs, their variations and over 100 drawings of solar cookers. Test data published by other researcher is compiled and a new set of parameters are suggested for testing Solar Cookers, reflectors, and insulating material. This compilation recommends do-it-yourself box ans panel -type solar cookers incorporated in the house for the rural areas (type BDM 2, concept IX).


For urban areas, the best suited design would be Prof. Bowman’s design with slight modifications (Type MP 3a,or Concept IV), or Prof Ajay Chandak's Balcony Cooker.


Another suggested design for small towns, where smaller single storied houses are common, is the roof-top water or Plocarbonate lens whose focus is suitably deflected to the bottom of the cooking vessel (Type LCA 3a, Concept VI).


Of other viable designs Bernard's 'COOKIT' appears to be the best low cost design, which has now become most popular design all over the World.


 Update: 10 more new designs have been added since this site was launched in June 1999, for details see at the end of this page and also in the respective sections ) The Sheffler's Reflector is also becomming popular World over.


  • The designs designated here as CONCEPTS I to XII were conceived during '80ies, but I do not claim any right over the same, these designs can be triedout by any interested persons without my prior permission.

  • However I appreciate if you share a  detailed report of the performance of the design.

  • This is an ACTIVE SITE, any Researcher or an Inventor may contribute/publish his/her design through this site, provided of course then send me the details. However, they can directly add their design in the respective catogory in my review os Solar Wiki site adopted by Solar Cooker international, and inform me (

  • Recently this site has been adopted by  UNESCO in their publication Encyclopedia of Life Support systems (EOLSS). 


  • BRETT WHITE of Australia, was the first contributor to this SITE. He has updated the folding type Parabolic cookers listed here under PC 8.

  • DERIS JEANNETTE from USA is the second contributor. He has evolved 'CLEAR DOME SOLAR COOKERS' classified here under LCA 7. He has presented several other interesting variations.

  • Prof  Bowman of Florida Institute of Technology, is one one of the major critics of this site. He was also active in Solar Cooker research and his contributions to this field are indeed phenominal.

  • Late DAVID DELANEY of Canada, turns out to be the first critic of the site, and as per his advice, I have renamed the web page as my Homesite. He is concentrating on improving the transparent insulating cover, first suggested by Prof. Bernard and then modified by Prof. Barbara Kerr, which is more effective. His site should visited for more detailed information on various aspects of Solar Cooking . He has also introduced a new design called Inverted Box.

  • QUINSTONE STOWELL from UK, is the fourth contributor to the site. He had detailed his project work undertaken at Peru and presents several guidelines for easier construction of parabolic solar Cookers.

  • I am delighted to receive very nice words and a beautiful book from Prof. BERNARD, ( off France ), designer of most popular Solar Cooker 'COOKIT". The book is in French but fortunately details of his designs are presented by Solar Cooker International.

  • Stoven has presented an interesting design called FUNNEL COOKERS, I would place it close to ' Cookit', and designate it as LCA 8.

  • Prof. Paul Funk's SEAE Standards on testing Solar Cookers has been added just this month that is, October 2001. Active researchers who have tested the Solar Cookers using this method could please send me the details.

  • In fact, the work on Solar Cookers was launched here at Udupi way back in 1975 as a personal project, to build a solar cooker for my personal use. As an teacher of Environmental Science to graduate students at India, I was worried aboout GHGs released through cooking and also villegers walking severl miles to collect firewood, I thought solar cookers can help the community a lot. It was Ms Janet Alarcon of VITA and Sri. G K Gopalakrishnan, Chief Documentation officer, TERI , (then located at Mumbai), who extended cooperation. They not only enthused me further but helped me by sending tons of information.



Solar energy is the primary source of energy for our Planet. Increased utilization of the same would result in an all-round benefit, both in terms of cleaner environment and monetary gain, for the individual users as well as the Nation. Use of solar energy would save a lot of time and money for the user and this could be effectively diverted for increased productive activities and monetary gains which means better living standards and overall prosperity. The Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA 1979) calculates that the use of solar cookers by about 2000 families for 10 years would mean a saving of Rs 3.6 million in terms of reduced firewood consumption, or Rs. 100 million worth coal or Rs. 8.55 million worth kerosene (as per 1979 prices).




The history of solar cooking goes back to dim recess of antiquity. The use of solar power to ignite altar fires has been mentioned (Meinel, Meinel 1997). References indicate the use of sun rays to melt chemicals and metals. The very first solar furnace was fabricated in France by the famed naturalist George Louis Leclere Buffon (1707 – 1788). However, the first reference relating to solar cooking was that of Nicholas-de-Saussure (1740 – 1799). There are over 60 major designs of solar cookers, some of which are patented, and more than 100 variations. Of these, this review covers about 59 of the most important variations. The main purpose of this compilation is to present all possible major designs and their variations so as to prevent the solar cooker designer from wasting time on a design which has already been under the Sun. An attempt is made to cover most of the designs, but if there are any omissions then the designers may please send the details. Though the description of the cooker is brief, accompanying diagrams would fill the void. As regards dimensions, adequate guidelines are given in the respective sections, but for concentrating type the area should preferably be more than 1.5 sq. m, and in the case of box type, it should be around 0.7 sq. m.

The solar cookers presented in the review are classified under SIX categories. The classification of cookers in this update varies slightly from my earlier  :


The Concentrator type, which concentrate the sun’s rays either on to the top or at the bottom of the cooking pot, was the pioneering designs. Naturally maximum variations are found under this category Over  28 designs are discussed here. I have also included a special section to fabricate a parabola.



Recently Prof. Bernard's COOKIT has become very popular world over and there are many variations of the design. Not to be left out, I have tried my hand at it too. Especially trying to make it simpler to fabricate and  as well as the Transparent Cooking Cover for the vessels. Earlier, this catogory of cookers had been included under the second set, but design and popularity of cooker has made me to elevate this type to a special catogory.


Cone Cookers were classified along with Panel Cookerss. But work of Mr Ravindra Pardesi of India and Magnar Totland of Norway, working in Congo, has made it necessory to allocate special catogory for this type of cookers as well.


The Box type design was one of the first solar cookers to appear under the sun, and is one of the popular designs now. Eleven major designs of this type are described here. The Indirect type solar cookers are those that have collectors outside and the cooking area or plate is inside the house. About 11 exotic designs find place in this review.




Cooking in hot sun is indeed cumbersome, and hence many an inventors have tried to evolve solar cookers which enable the lady of the house to cook food in comforts of her kitchen. Naturally enen in my earlier edition this catogory existed. But I guess the cost of construction has made this design not so popular even with researchers.


Several reserchers have tried to store Solar energy, using a Solar cooker, so that cooking can be done even during night time. Easily available details are summarised here.


 I hope you, the reader will benifit from this site. I seek your cooperation, to make this more informative, attractive, lively and useful.



However, on this site, I have tried to maintain the original idea of including as many designs as possible. If I have not included, one shoul pardon me for the literature in really huge, making it virtually impossible to cover all. But, once again, with active cooperation of inventors, I will try to make this site as informative and useful as possible.



Table of Contents




Concentrator Type

      Light concentrated from below

         Spherical reflector

         Fresnel reflectors


         Plane mirrors

         Parabolic mirrors

          Rigid parabolas

          Shallow parabolic cookers

          Deep parabolas

          Asymmetrical parabolas

          Collapsible parabolas

Concentrating light from above

          Single Lense

          Compound lens 


Panel Designs


      Other  Panels

Cone (Funnel) Designs

          Box-type designs

          Box without reflectors

           Box with reflectors

Box with single reflector

Box with double reflector

Box with three reflectors

Box with four reflectors

Box with four plus four reflectors


Indirect Types

Chemical cookers

Selection of the best design

Evaluation of cookers

Some recommendations


Refrences -- A to R

Refrences S to W-- & OTHER LINKS


For Comments, suggestions, contributions contact

Please add,Solar or Solar Cooker, in the subject to avoid your mail being erased as scam

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OTHER LINKS are listed  under S11-References A to W


For details regarding testing standards for Solar Cookers ( International Standards ) please click here

For Comments, suggestions, contributions contact 

Dr. Ashok Kundapur

Email :

Please add Solar or Solar Cooker in the subject to avoid your mail being erased as spam 






For details regarding testing standards for Solar Cookers ( International Standards ) please click here

For Comments, suggestions, contributions contact 

Dr. Ashok Kundapur

Email :

Please add Solar or Solar Cooker in the subject to avoid your mail being erased as spam