Our founder, Roger Haines, is a Board member of Solar Household Energy, a Washington, D.C. based promoter of solar cooking, and also a member of the Solar Cookers International Association. He is also on the Board of San Diego based Alliance for African Assistance, and is Rotary Foundation Chair of San Diego Rotary Club 33. Roger has been designing and making solar cookers since 2013.
Roger initially recognized that 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 in developing countries or for camping or preparedness purposes.
So Roger decided to focus on so-called “panel” solar cookers, because they are less-expensive and 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.
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.
Instead of cardboard, Roger chose tough, high-temperature reflective metalized polyester (MPET) foam material that is impervious to boiling water, will not oxidize, and cannot be scratched off. MPET is easy to recycle and is environmentally safe through the whole production and recycling process without pollution. Identical material is used for high-end automobile sunshades which last for ten years or more in the hot sun.
To replace the plastic cooking bag, Roger designed a rectangle of UV-resistant polycarbonate plastic, rolled into a cylindrical “cooking sleeve” that insulates the pot, and elevates it off the surface of the reflector so that sunlight can be reflected onto the bottom of the pot. The sleeve makes the lid accessible during cooking. It is also adjustable to fit most round pots, and should last for the life of the cooker. It is included with every Haines Cooker.
For windy or cold conditions, a clear plastic cover provides a second layer of insulation (included). The cover fits loosely to prevent steam from condensing on it. It consists of a circle of UV-resistant polycarbonate plastic film with a radius cut overlapped to form a rigid, flat cone-similar to a sun hat.
What can it cook? Anything you can cook in an oven. See the recipes on this website.