Ashok Kundapur

MGM College, Udupi – 576 102, INDIA

This is a HTML version of the article which appeared in TIDE, Vol 8, No. 1, March 1998 Page 1-37. This paper is now presented here in 6 parts.


This review presents about 56 major designs , 59 variations and 66 drawings of solar cookers. Test data published by other researcher is compiled and a new set of parameters is suggested for testing solar cookers, reflectors, and insulating material. This compilation recommends do – it-yourself box-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, Concept IV). Another design for small towns, where smaller houses are more in number, is the roof-top water lens whose focus is suitably deflected to the bottom of the cooking vessel (Type LCA 3a, Concept VI).Of other viable designs Bernards 'COOKIT' appears to be the best suited, other designs are also discussed. ( Update 6 more new designs have been added since this site was launched in June 1999, for details see at the end of this part and also in the respective sections )

Same article appears in Geocities too under URL




The author acknowledges the help and encouragement extended by the late Prof. P.S. Shivram, Head, Department of Printing Technology and Energy Centre, MIT, Manipal , who was solely responsible for the publication of the earlier review in 1995. In fact the work on Solar Cookers was launched here at Udupi way back in 1975 and it was Ms Janet Alarcon of VITA and Sri. G K Gopalakrishnan, Chief Documentation officer, TERI , ( then located at Mumbai ) who not only enthused me forther but helped me by sending tons of information. And now, especially to Dr. M C Shukla of TERI, New Delhi, for having recognized this work and encourage compilation of this abridged and updated version, and getting it published in TIDE. I am also grateful to Ms. Bev Blum, Vice President, Solar Cooker International, USA. for encouraging me to put this paper on WEB. I am also grateful to Prof. Sureshramana Mayya, Department of Commerce, at our College for taking special interest in converting this paper into HTML format. ( for other links see at the end of References )

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

Cookers which concentrate light from above

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


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 cookers 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 50 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 (Kundapur 1995). 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 0.6 sq. m.

The solar cookers presented in the review are classified under THREE categories:

The Concentrator type, concentrate the sun’s rays either on to the top or at the bottom of the cooking pot, was the pioneering design. Naturally maximum variations are found under this category and 28 designs are discussed here. 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. Some exotic designs are covered here and 11 major designs find place in this review (Chart I).



Concentrator Type



  • Spherical
  • Fresnel
  • Cylindro parabolic
  • Mirror plane
  • Collapsible

  • Rigid

  • Asymmetrical
  • Shallow
  • Deep
Box-type designs
  • Without Mirrors
  • With Mirrors
  • Single Mirror
  • Double Mirrors
  • Three Mirrors
  • Four Mirrors
  • Four plus Four
Indirect Types
  • IDT 1 Whiller type
  • 1a Stam Cooker
  • 1b Bowman type
  • 1c Venugopal type
  • IDT 2 Chinese type
  • 2a Nijaguna type
  • IDT 3 Stam type
  • IDT 4 Swet type
  • IDT 5 Fraber type
  • IDT 6 Winston CPC tpye
  • IDT 7 Concept XII
  • IDT 8 Chemical types
  • IDT 9 Biogas
  • IDT 10 Solar Hydrogen
  • IDT 11 Solar Water Heater

( for details See Chart Ia )

( for details See Chart Ib )


( UPDATE : Medved, 'SOLAR BALL' under Spherical Concentrators S-2, Amith Kumar's Circular Box with Contored Mirror under BSM 2, Prof Sayiah's under BSM 3, Prof. El Sebiis type under BSM 4, Fatangare's under BWM 7, Double Parabola under PRS 2, Brett White's Solar Umbrella under Collapsible type, and Deris's under MP2

Prof. Bernard's 'NEPLA' in under MP 3 are 7 new designs considerded in this first ed. of the web page )

Source:- TIDE., March 1998, 8-1, pp 1-37, For Comments, suggestions,contributions contact <>


For easy NAVIGATION use this chart.

OTHER LINKS are found under References S to W

Collapsible Parabola Parabolic Concentrators light from above
Box type designs Box with 2 reflectors Indirect types
Chemical types Selection of best type GATE Table 2
GATE Table 2a Table 3 References A to R
References S to W To Home page web page