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The Sunseed Trust

The Sunseed Trust is a UK registered charity that does research intended to help peoples living in arid and near desert areas. Sunseed Desert Technology is their research centre near Almeria in south eastern Spain, the region with the most parching climate in Europe.

I attended Sunseed's Desert Technology Research Centre in June 1996 to learn about their research and to test the Anahat type of solar cooker designed by Anna Pearce of Box-Aid. The cookers are essentially a 90 degree cone of Mylar, 40cms across the opening, oriented towards the sun, the food being placed in a blackened container, covered by a clear plastic baking bag, sitting in the centre of the cone.

Three variants of the Anahat were tested:

I conducted the tests on Wednesday the 26th of July, 1996, at the Sunseed Desert Technology research centre near Sorbas, Almeria, Spain (36°N, 2°W) in line with their testing methodology. Sunseed's ULOG and Adobe cookers were used for comparison.

500cc of sunflower oil was placed in each test container. Weather conditions were 1 to 4 eights cumulus cover with 1 to 3 force winds. Each cooker was aligned once an hour on the hour.

   Environment   ULOG Box Cooker   Adobe Ref. Cooker   Anahat Cookers   
Amb. Wind  Small   Large   Base   Small   Large   Base         
 Time   Temp.   Speed  Pot Pot Plate Pot Pot Plate A-1 A-2 A-3  Notes 
11:00 25                     a
12:00 25   102  108  95  87 67 67 117  103  117  a
13:00 27   40  67  78  28 34 70 38  25  29  b
13:15                       b
13:30 28 1.04 60  72  90  48 55 75 68  38  53   
13:45 29 1.71 73  87  96  58 63 79 81  60  70   
14:00 29 1.91 80  92  92  61 61 79 83  65  73   
14:15 29 2.39 89  101  103  67 69 76 99  75  86   
14:30 29 1.80 97  108  110  68 70 80 110  86  94   
14:45 29 1.91 102  116  112  70 75 81 116  94  102   
15:00 28 1.59 106  120  116  74 76 80 117  97  102   
15:15 29 2.52 109  121  116  79 80 93 120  104  104   
15:30 28 2.13 112  124  114  83 83 92 120  107  103   
15:45 27 1.94 116  126  116  88 86 92 117  109  101   
16:00 27 2.76 116  128  117  91 90 92 114  109  100   
16:15 27 2.09 118  129  116  88 91 93 114  112  100   
16:30 26 2.99 119  132  119  89 94 94 114  114  100   
16:45 26 2.53 121  133  120  88 93 98 111  114  99   
17:00 26 3.01 120  133  120  89 94 94 104  111  95   

a) Cookers and pots were preheated for two hours before adding the oil.
b) Due to operational difficulties the 13:00 readings may be inaccurate, and the 13:15 readings were missed.

All temperatures are in degrees Celsius. Wind speeds are in metres per second. Times are local time (CET), being solar time plus approximately one hour.

Test Result Graphs


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