Making the Most of Sunshine: A Handbook of Solar Energy for the Common Man

S Narayanaswamy 
Vikas Publishing House PVT Ltd  2001  

Hardback  xii + 204 pages  ISBN 8125910867      £30.00

This book, which was initially aimed at the Indian market, can be divided into two parts. The first is a fairly comprehensive overview of the role of solar energy in renewable energy systems, both in the context of the world at present and in terms of its growing importance in the future. The second part focuses on the specific use of solar energy in cooking, with an emphasis on how this has evolved in India. As the author indicates in the Preface, this book is an attempt at unravelling a little known secret-that the sun can cook for us. He points out that everyday the sun showers the earth with several thousand times as much energy as we use. In less than three days the solar energy reaching the earth more than matches the total of all the fossil fuel energy on earth and asks 'why are we not making use of this incredible bonanza of solar energy?

Answering his own question, he points out that we are, but it is the indirect sunshine of ages ago trapped In the bowels of the earth that we are reclaiming today in a very polluting way. The challenge is to make use of solar energy directly and in a non-polluting fashion. The author indicates that 'this book is intended to arouse an interest in the reader in the happenings in the world of renewable energy, solar energy in particular and more specifically in the solar cooker, and to share my experience of the solar cooker with the readers. We are much better off using the solar cooker than slaving over hot fire. But it is proving to be a challenging task to spread the word and to convince people that something so simple as the solar cooker can work so well in today's technologically advanced world'.

As indicated by the following contents, the book contains detailed plans of a number of different solar cookers, that may not tempt the well off to replace their current systems - but could provide valuable instruction for the basis of educational projects, or the incentive for anyone interested in solar energy to see what can be achieved with a small investment of time and money.


Chapter I : Introduction
Neglect of Solar Cooker
Solar Cooker and the Common Man
Solar Cooker Versus Other Solar Devices
Solar Energy and Solar Power
Solar Cooking is Good
Solar Cooking and Simple Living
Chapter 2 : The Current Energy and Environment Scene
Forms of Energy
Energy Demand and Conservation
Greenhouse Gases
Global Warming
Sustainable Development
Environmental Awareness
Earth Day
Chapter 3 The Future Energy Sources
Wind Energy
Small Hydropower
Geo-thermal Energy
Tidal Energy
Wave Energy
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) or Deep Ocean Water (DOW) Systems
Solar Ponds
Hydrogen Energy or Fuel Cell
Some Recent Developments in Fuel Cell/Rechargeable Batteries
Nuclear Fusion
Share of Renewable Energy
Chapter 4 : The Energy of the Sun
Sun: The Primary Energy Source
Full Spectrum Solar Energy System
Thermophotovoltaic Devices
Artificial Photosynthesis
Thermionic Power Chip
Thermoelectric Generators
Solar Thermal
Non-imaging Optics
Thermoacoustic Heating
Solar Space Heating
Space Solar Power Systems
Prospects for Renewable Energy
Fiscal and Legal Mechanisms for Green Electricity
Chapter 5 : The Solar Cooker-The Box Cooker
Solar Box
Spread of Solar Cookers
Benefits of Solar Cooking
Basics of Solar Cooker
Solar Cooker Operation
Through the Wall Oven
The Maria Telkes Cooker
Chapter 6: Cooking with the Solar Cooker
Boiling/Pasteurising Water
Getting Rid of Insect Infestation
Repair Jobs
Making Jams/Canning/Baking
Preventive Maintenance
Retained Heat Cooking
Sustainable Kitchen
Using the Solar Cooker as a Thermal Cooker
Bachat Cooker
Chapter 7: Other Solar Cooker Types and Low Grade Solar Thermal Devices
The Conical Cooker
Parabolic Cooker
Flat Plate Collector
Solar Water Heater
Solar Stills
Solar Dryer
Solar Refrigerator
Subsidies and Financial Assistance
Chapter 8 : Making Your Own Solar Cooker
Cardboard Box Cooker
Panel Type Cooker
The Sunstove Cooker
Solar Funnel Cooker
Chapter 9 : Promotion of Solar Cookers
Introduction and Dissemination
Governmental Support
Evolving Good Designs and Spreading out Production
Other Thermal Devices
Publicity and Promotion
Educational Tool
Solar Energy Studies
Appendix I
Why Create Energy When You Can Save it
In A Hurry to Prove The " Pistonheads" Wrong
Listen, Detroit: You'll Get a Charge out of This
Amory Lovins Sees the Future and it is Hydrogen
Appendix II
Principle of Scheffler Parabolic Reflector
Box-type Solar Cooker
Conical Solar Cooker
Maria Telkes Solar Cooker
Typical Specifications of a Solar Box Cooker
Renewable energy, Solar energy, Solar cookers

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Autumn 2001 : Vikas Publishing House PVT Ltd : bioenergy : climate change : environmental impact : environmental science : geothermal energy : hydropower : ocean energy : renewable energy : solar energy : sustainable development : wind energy

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