This paper presents the feasibility of using solar photovoltaics (Solar PV) as the energy source for cooking with special focus on the loss mechanisms and possible remedial measures. If the heat loss is minimized, to reduce the temperature losses, it is possible to cook with a low power source less than 500 W. A slogan has been adopted by the researchers—‘It is temperature that cooks food not heat’, meaning that it is not the flow of energy that cooks food, but rather, that food is cooked when held at a key temperature for a time. The slogan draws attention to the core concept that if heat loss is minimized, maintaining the temperature inside the cooker and the cooking pan, then the cooking process becomes very energy efficient. The paper considers ways to maintain temperature, but with due reference to the ‘art of cooking’, those all-important cultural processes that determine how meals are made. A prototype solar home system e-cooker was designed, fabricated and tested for cooking different foods in Bangladesh. Experimental results are presented to show that cooking is possible using much less power and energy than is commonly thought. A cost analysis is also presented to show that such a cooker can be cost effective in off-grid areas if connected to a properly designed Solar Home System.
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