Our founder, Roger Haines, is on the Board of Solar Household Energy, and has been a member of the Internal Affairs Committee of Solar Cookers International. He is also board member of the Alliance for African Assistance, and RI Foundation Chair of San Diego Rotary Club 33. Roger created the Haines Solar Cooker to overcome the shortcomings of other solar cookers.
Parabolic (“dish“) solar cookers work well, especially in cold climates, because they produce high temperatures. However, they require constant repositioning to keep the focal point on the cooking pot, and they are bulky and heavy which makes them less practical for camping or preparedness purposes .
Solar box cookers cook at lower temperatures, but again their bulk makes them difficult to store and transport for camping or preparedness purposes.
So-called “panel” solar cookers are best for camping an preparedness purposes because they can be folded or rolled up for easy transportation or storage. The most widely-distributed panel cooker–the “CooKit”–has two shortcomings: (1) it is made of cardboard, and (2) it requires the cooking pot to be enclosed in a plastic “cooking bag,” which is awkward to use and requires replacement after several uses. Although most other panel cookers do not use cardboard, most still rely on plastic cooking bags.
The Haines Solar Cooker replaces the cardboard with durable high-temperature reflective MPET foam, and replaces the plastic cooking bag with a durable cylindrical “cooking sleeve” that insulates the pot, but keeps it accessible during during cooking. To top it off, a clear plastic cover holds the cooker in the proper shape, even in windy conditions.
The new Haines Solar Cooker has three unique features:
- A Reflector of high temperature MPET foam that should last 5 years.
- A Cooking Sleeve that insulates the cooking pot, eliminating cooking bags.
- A circular Cover that creates “oven-like” conditions around the pot.
The reflective metalized polyester will not oxidize, cannot be scratched off, and has a high melting point. Importantly, the new material is easy to recycle and is environmentally safe through the whole production and recycling process without pollution. In the U.S. this material is used to make high-end auto windshield sunshades that last more than 10 years.
The reflector is a rectangle of metalized polyester with IXPE foam backing, with three cuts. Overlapping the cuts as shown produces a flat bottom and a parabolic shape, secured with a brass fastener. The cooker sits solidly on the ground and can withstand very strong winds when secured by a string passed through holes in the bottom of the cooker. When the sun is low, the front of the cooker can be tilted down to catch more sun.
Because disposable plastic oven bags are expensive and awkward, we replaced them with a permanent transparent “cooking sleeve” that insulates the cooking pot while keeping the lid accessible during cooking. The sleeve is a rectangle of UV-resistant high-temperature polycarbonate rolled into a cylinder that is adjustable to fit any round cooking pot that has a top rim and no handles. The top rim of the pot rests on the top rim of the cooking sleeve, insulating and elevating the pot so that the sun’s rays are reflected onto the bottom of the pot. A black metal lid works well, but a glass lid retains more heat.
A circular cover holds the reflector in the proper parabolic shape and creates “oven-like” conditions around the cooking pot. The cover is made from a circle of UV-resistant polycarbonate plastic film. For increased rigidity, a radius cut is overlapped to form a flat cone like a sun hat.
What can it cook? Anything you can cook in an oven. See the recipes on this website.