German entrepreneur Gregor Schaper has installed a series of large circular solar panels in the small town of El Sauz, near Mexico City, and uses solar energy for all his cooking. Each solar cooker costs about solar cooker costs between $4,000 and $5,000 to build, according to AFP, but once it’s up and running it is free to operate, and it produces no greenhouse gas emissions. According to Schapers, each solar reflector can create enough energy that can be used to cook for a group of 60 people.
The reflectors can create temperatures up to 1,020 degrees Celsius (1,868 degrees Fahrenheit). The heat then reaches the cooker and is shared between a cauldron, a griddle and an oven. Each reflector saves the equivalent of 60 liters (16 gallons) of gas each month, proving the system to be environmentally friendly. Schapers claims that his design makes significant improvements compared to other existing models – he can cook directly in the house.
“At first people here in the region were very skeptical about the usefulness of my project,” said Schapers.” “Once they saw the facilities and what we can do with these reflectors, they realized that they work.”
The panels were manufactured by Trinysol, the company Schapers founded, employing the technology first developed by Austrian Wolfang Schefflers. They come in two sizes — either 10 square meters or (107 square feet) or 16 square meters (170 square feet). Equipped with light sensors, they automatically turn towards the sun. Schapers is currently testing the technology for other uses, including a greenhouse project, honey production and a system of steam baths.