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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluating the International Standard Procedure for Testing Solar Cookers and Reporting Performance

Author
item FUNK, PAUL

Submitted to: Solar Energy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Growth of the fledgling solar cooking industry has spawned research efforts around the world; many of them are redundant. To date, there has been no standard method followed when testing performance or reporting results. The research presents an international test standard. It calls for solar cookers to be tested only under certain conditions. It calls for results to be presented as a line on a graph. This line is called the cooking power curve. Evaluation of the standard showed that it is both easy to use and accurate. The same cooker tested in different locations, under different conditions, and at different times of the year resulted in essentially the same cooking power curve. Cookers of different design tested at the same time resulted in different cooking power curves. Researchers now have a common language to use when reporting their findings. It is easier to compare solar cookers. Manufacturers can use the cooking power curve to improve existing designs and to predict the performance of new ones. Consumers can purchase a solar cooker sized to meet their needs.

Technical Abstract: The international standard procedure for testing solar cookers and reporting performance was proposed at the Third World Conference on Solar Cooking (Avinashilingam University, Coimbatore, India, 6-10 January, 1997) and revised by committee over the following months. The standard sets limits for environmental conditions, specifies test procedures, and calls for performance to be reported in terms of cooking power. The standard is presented in this paper. It was evaluated both by using it to analyze data previously collected and by using it to test one of the solar cookers in the historical data set. The test standard cooking power curve clearly distinguishes between solar cookers of differing design. Estimates of solar cooker performance for different locations and dates are fairly consistent when the test standard is employed. The criteria of being easy to use and presenting data predictive of thermal performance are also satisfied.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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