Performance evaluation of a hot-box reflector solar cooker using a microcontroller-based measurement system
International Journal of Energy Research
School of Physics, Faculty of Agriculture and Science, University of KwaZulu Natal, Westville Campus, Durban 4000, South Africa; Physics Department, Bindura University of Science, Private Bag 1020, Bindura, Zimbabwe; Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, ICTP, Italy; University of Kassel (ISET e.V), Witzenhausen, Germany
The performance of a low-cost compound box-reflector solar cooker designed and constructed by the department of Mechanical Engineering, at the University of Zimbabwe, was investigated and evaluated using a microcontroller-based measurement system over a period of 3 months. Solar radiation and temperature measurements are sent directly to the computer for monitoring and subsequent analysis using a spreadsheet program. The system is connected to the computer through the RS232 port. Temperature was measured by LM335 temperature sensors, whereas solar radiation was measured by a Kipp & Zonen CM3 thermopile-based pyranometer that was initially calibrated against the Eppley Precision Spectral Pyranometer. Peak temperatures of about 90°C for the food can be attained in about 5 h on a clear day in Bindura, Zimbabwe (18°S, 31°E). A standardized cooking power of 11W and an overall efficiency of 15% were found for this cooker. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Ambient temperature; Microcontroller; Performance evaluation; Pyranometer; Solar cooker; Standardized cooking power; Electric batteries; Electromagnetic waves; Microcontrollers; Reflection; Solar equipment; Solar radiation; Sun; Temperature; Temperature measurement; Solar energy