Wilson’s technology harnesses the sun and stores latent heat to allow cooking times for up to an twenty five hours at temperatures above 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The technology uses a Fresnel lens to harness the sun’s energy to melt down a container of Lithium Nitrate. The Lithium Nitrate acts as a battery storing thermal energy for 25 hours at a time. The heat is then released as convection for outdoor cooking. The invention is of great benefit to those in developing nations who rely on wood to cook all their food.
“There are a lot of solar cookers out there,” says Wilson, “but surprisingly not many using latent-heat storage as an attribute to cook the food.” Wilson developed the idea after spending time in Nigeria, where wood is used for cooking, which causes a number of problems. Not only is cooking with firewood leading to respiratory illnesses, but is also increasing the rate of deforestation and women are being raped while searching for wood.