Solar Thermal; Solar Energy; Solar Cookers
A critical task in developing a solar cooker is to identify reflector materials that would be both suitable for this application as well as economical. FSEC has conducted an extensive search for available reflective materials. This has included contacting reflective materials manufacturers as well as national laboratories that are currently working with private industry in developing reflector that can be used primarily on large concentrating solar energy devices. This investigation used a variety of resources. These included the FSEC solar library, web search engines, solar industry catalogs and directories, personal contacts, aluminum industry sources, solar cooker discussion groups, and a wealth of other investigative resources. A great deal of time has been spent on this search for the perfect material. The perfect material would of course be one that provides high optical reflectance, is ultra violet ray resistant, is durable in a variety of environmental and abusive conditions, is pliable, can be easily attached to a substrate, is available internationally, and last but not least, is economical. Basically, FSEC could not find a product that would be considered a breakthrough in regards to those products currently being used on solar cookers. The materials currently being used range from common kitchen aluminum foil to complex films developed by major corporations.
The biggest disappointment was that 3M is no longer manufacturing the solar firms that were developed in the 1980s under the guidance of Mr. John Roche. The only valid 3M product (see VM2000 below) that could be used as a cooker reflector is currently manufactured for other applications and would have to be coated (for ultra violet ray protection) for use on solar cookers.
The other products described in this report that NREL has been investigating are cutting edge technology materials and still have a ways to go before they are ready for market. Actually, NREL is still working with the developers on both testing of the material as well as on production and manufacturing methods.
Solar Cookers; Solar Energy; Solar Thermal
Florida Solar Energy Center and Harrison, John, "Investigation Of Reflective Materials For The Solar Cooker" (2001). FSEC Energy Research Center®. 581.