Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
November 10, 2016 ·  2 min read

Wilson solar grill stores the sun’s energy for fuel-free grilling every night

Grilled food is undeniably delicious, let it be burgers, chicken, corn on the cob, steak, or something more inventive. During warm weather, it’s an enjoyable time to connect with family, neighbors, friends, and old acquaintances.

Unfortunately, our grills are harmful to the environment. Whether you use wood chips, charcoal, or propane, it releases emissions and creates poor air quality. Up until now, solar-powered cookers needed to the sun in order to function, which means that the environment suffers by night and evening barbecues, which, to be honest, is the prime time to have them.

This genius found the perfect solution for us to barbecue without ruining our environment.

Wilson Solar Cookers Without Fuel

MIT professor David Wilson developed a new solar technology that will bring a solar cooker that functions at night. This invention will significantly benefit developing nations who depend on wood for cooking.

Wilson’s technology concept harnesses the sun and stores the latent heat for cooking for up to twenty-five hours at temperatures above 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The technology uses a Fresnel lens to hold the sun’s energy to melt a container of Lithium Nitrate which acts as a thermal-storing battery for 25 hours at a time. Afterwards, the heat is released for our favorite way to cook outdoors.

“There are a lot of solar cookers out there,” Wilson says, “but surprisingly not many using latent-heat storage as an attribute to cook the food.” There have been solar cookers, grills, and ovens made before, but they all had to be used during the day to function.

Wilson came up with the idea after visiting Nigeria where their standard cooking method uses wood which results with issues like, respiratory illnesses, deforestation, and women being vulnerable to rape while searching for the firewood.

A group of MIT students are working to develop the technology for a prototype solar grill. Derek Ham, Theodora Vardouli, and Eric Uva are conducting a study through the multi-disciplinary course “iTeams,” which is short for “Innovation Teams”, to assess the concept and to then potentially launch a business to manufacture and distribute the barbeque.

The final goal is to create a business model for selling solar cookers for developing nations, in addition to creating a grill for the American market. The American version is potentially going to be a hybrid propane/solar model that will allow for flame cooking as thoroughly as thermal convection.

Solar-Powered Grills Coming Soon

Be prepared for the future item that is a perfect gift for Father’s Day, or any family member or friend who loves barbecue.

If you love cooking outdoors, buy it for yourself and don’t feel guilty. Tell everyone else you are saving the environment, and grill your favorite foods with the knowledge that Mother Nature will thank you. If you’re interested in finding out more about solar cooking, why it’s a good option, and what’s available to you now, check out this website.