A new solar cooker design, capable of cooking food, purifying water, and powering small electronics, has just been developed by researchers at Cranfield University and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad.

Image Credit: Cranfield University
Image Credit: Cranfield University

A large number of people living in the ‘developing world’ don’t have a reliable, or cheap enough, means to heat their food and purify their water, and as a result, many people are regularly sickened/die from it. The new solar cooker should help to remedy this, according to the researchers, improving the health of many of the people living in rural communities around the world.

The new design is based around the use of “a system of mirrored strips tilted at different angles to concentrate sunlight onto an ‘absorber’ which converts the sun’s energy into useable heat. The process is known as ‘concentrating solar power’ (CSP)” — a process very familiar to those with an interest in solar energy technology. Cranfield University is widely considered to be home to the best CSP research team in the UK.


Cranfield University’s Dr Chris Sansom, the UK’s leading expert on concentrating solar power, said this about the new design: “This is a very exciting project as there are many areas of the world where solar cookers and water purifiers could impact significantly on people’s quality of life.”

In addition to being able to cook food and purify water, the new solar cooker is capable of storing heat and could generate electricity — potentially powering mobile and small-scale electronic devices, such as periodic air conditioning.

“The solar cooker was developed by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, with expertise from Cranfield University. It was funded by the Government of Pakistan, who recognised the need to improve the lives of those living in the remote regions of Pakistan.”