In the niche field of solar cookers, there is nothing hotter than the gadget developed by Patrick Sherwin.
The GoSun Stove is a funky, functional upgrade from traditional solar cookers.
“It’s hotter, quicker — and in all conditions,” says Sherwin, a solar engineer working in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Solar cookers — long touted as an alternative to smoky wood or charcoal cookfires in the developing world — used to come in three varieties: panel-style cookers, box-style cookers and parabolic cookers. All of them perform as sun-powered crockpots, cooking foods at low heat, typically 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
The GoSun Stove gets as hot as 550 degrees and can cook a meal in as little as 20 minutes. You could use it to cook brats while tailgating before a football game.
“The big secret is the utilization of the evacuated tube technology,” says Sherwin.
The tube is basically a Pyrex glass vacuum flask (think Thermos) that retains heat. The insulated tube will remain hot and steadily cook your food, despite passing clouds.
The tube is the heart of a package that weighs less than four pounds and packs up quite nicely, making it something a backpacker would be willing to tote.
Sherwin has handcrafted 30 prototypes and is now scaling up production through a Kickstarter campaign.
“We’re basically selling the device before we’ve actually created it,” Sherwin says.
The campaign has already topped $63,000 — far above the goal of $40,000. Pledges of $179 or more get you some version of the GoSun Stove.
Other solar cookers work as small ovens, allowing the cook to use pots and pans they already have. The GoSun Stove requires a change in how you prepare food — the tube is just 2 ½ inches in diameter, so food must be cut up to fit. And making stew would be problematic, Sherwin says.
“It’s more for solid foods,” he says. “Though it’s ideal for heating water for tea or coffee.”
The Kickstarter campaign closes on Oct. 27 and GoSun Stoves are scheduled to be shipped in December.
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