PV Cooking in Uganda

Summer 2016, design and construction of a PV cooking facility for Uganda

January 2016: We published our work in Development Engineering with 10 student authors, and posted a 5-minute video.
Peter Keller gave this presentation of our work at the ETHOS conference in January, 2017.
In Uganda, we are working with Aid Africa continuing our ongoing PV cooking to deploy three prototypes this summer. This summer, four students spent a month in Uganda with AidAfrica to study how people cook there and deploy a few Solar Ovens. The College of Science and Math published this story about their trip. If you are interested in supporting their trip, please visit their GoFundMe page. For the first half of the summer, we have four Cal Poly students working at Cal Poly’s Student Experimental Farm designing a boil and simmer oven to be implemented in Uganda. The following reveals our final prototype. We have also include the process of several other prototypes and their results.

In addition to the work you see below, stoves were developed by two groups of students with Cal Poly’s Mechanical Engineering Department senior project course. One group focused on designing and building a solar-electric cooker for poor people and another group designed and built a solar-electric cooker targeting the camping industry in wealthy countries. Their reports are here:
1) Solar Electric Cooking for the Poor
2) Solar Electric Cooking for Camping
Please also see Aid Africa’s Business Plan for Carbon Market, a plan we are considering along with the referenced permit to mine clay.

Final PV Cooker Prototype

Figure 1. Final PV cooker we will be implementing in Uganda.
Figure 2. Assembly of our final PV cooker prototype.

Visit our other webpage to see a more detailed view of our prototype, how to make one, and its results by clicking here.

This prototype was our last iteration of the PV cooker which will be used by the Cal Poly students implementing PV cookers in Uganda this summer, July 2016.

Other Project Information

Selecting Optimal Resistance

  • The selection of the the resistance of our burner is crucial for our project. Therefore, we developed a webpage, Selecting PV Panel Resistance, dedicated to how we selected the resistance for a our solar panel.

The Making of Inexpensive Burners for Third World Countries

  • Photovoltaic panels need an optimal resistance in order to obtain maximum efficiency, which varies from panel to panel depending on their voltage and power. The burners with the correct optimal resistance were proven to be expensive or a hassle to modifiy the electrical range burners that exist now. Therefore, we developed an inexpensive, custom burners tailored for third world countries; however, anybody in need of a burner with a specific resistance is free to make one. The link will direct you to the webpage Custom Inexpensive Burners for Third World Countries.

Other Prototypes

Straw Bale Cooker.PNG
Figure 3. The straw bale cooker. (Picture provided by the Appropriate Technology Class)

Plastic barrel with top prototype.jpg
Figure 4. Plastic Drum PV cooker with straw as insulation.

Research Paper by Omar Arriaga regarding current interruption “buttons” and battery charging.

Group Members:

Figure 5. Pablo Arroyo (right) and Tyler Watkins (left) posing with their cooker.

Pablo Arroyo
4th year Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly State UniversityContact Info: pearroyo@calpoly.edu, arroyopablo75@gmail.com
Tyler Watkins
4th year Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly State University
Contact Info: twatkins@calpoly.edu