A solar grill is not dissimilar to a hotdog solar cooker. It works off the same principle of a parabolic solar cooker but is positioned differently. Solar grills are somewhat different compared to the conventional solar cookers. The assembly is a tripod arrangement with the curved reflector at the base of the assembly close to the ground. The reflector is concave in shape and lined with a highly reflective material.
The actual solar cooking pot or pan is then positioned on a platform at the exact focal length of the reflector. An excellent example of a solar grill is the tripod hybrid solar grill which was designed by Tim Norton of Florida, USA in 2006. This technology interfaces with parabolic solar cooking technology and consists of a movable parabolic reflector positioned in the bottom of a tripod with a grill surface positioned above the parabolic reflector.
The flexibility of the tripod allows the user to make suitable adjustments to the surface height of the grill so as to adjust temperatures, ranging from only mildly warm to extremely hot.
The cooking pots and pans are positioned on the grill. The parabolic reflector is a satellite dish lined with a highly reflective layer of aluminized Mylar and a polyurethane protective layer with an aperture of 33 inches and a focal length of 18 inches. The grill uses conventional pots and pans with a black bottom.
Food can be baked, fried, boiled, broiled, stewed and even smoked using this grill. Under favourable conditions cooking temperatures of 450 °F (230 °C) can be achieved. In unfavourable solar weather conditions, the parabolic reflector can be removed and the grill can be used with most conventional fuels (wood, gas, charcoal, propane, electricity etc). The structure is relatively stable even in high wind conditions due to the wide base and low center of gravity.
The full assembly is fairly robust can also be easily folded down for storage and transportation, making the device highly portable.
Sean McGreevy has a slightly different conceptual interpretation of a solar grill with his Helios design he used for his thesis project as an Industrial Design student at the Cleveland Institute of Art (Cleveland, Ohio) in 2006. It is a conceptual project that explored how people might cook more sustainably in the future.
Helios is a solar grill that uses the energy from the sun to grill food. It utilizes a parabolic dish to concentrate the sun’s energy on the solar receptor, positioned at the exact focal point of the parabolic reflector, where the energy is then subsequently transferred to the heating coil within the grill and is converted to heat energy.
It features a unique cantilevered design that safely keeps the reflective surface away from the user. As well as a collapsing parabolic dish to neatly store the unit upright. Not enough sun to grill? A retractable plug is stored in the base as a backup energy source when grilling at night, or on cloudy days.
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