BS in Physics
Scheffler reflectors are an appropriate solar technology used to provide heat for cooking surfaces and has been adopted in many developing nations. The first Scheffler was built in North America in 2010 by Jason Rapp et al., taking a group of four students approximately $2000 and 3 months. Thus, our task was to minimize certain aspects of the Scheffler construction process, so that it would be more appropriate for developing countries and industrial applications alike. Additionally, this senior project aims to incorporate the thermal storage unit and tracking system, with the current Scheffler system, to render a workable cooking technology. So far, the frame's manufacturing time and cost were reduced to a few man-hours and $20 for materials. A manual tracking mechanism to follow the sun throughout the day was developed for under $10, and consists of nylon, a spring, and a metal crank. An automatic tracking mechanism is currently under development. This mechanism uses an Arduino to compare the light levels between two photodiodes. A thermal storage unit, which allows for cooking after the sunset, is in its second prototype, constructed of cement and steel. This cost $30 and less than 2 man-hours to manufacture. It is able to retain temperatures of up to 100oC for 4-5 hours. Construction of the reflective dish is still under development, but we have used many different manufacturing methods to construct a template: sand and fire clay, plaster of paris, and high density foam. Lastly, these elements were integrated toward a concentrated solar cooking facility with moderate success and the results are reported herein.