This innovative solar cooker received its name from the incorporation of a large diameter, all-glass solar vacuum tube.
It is deemed to be a true solar appliance due of its ability to boil water, steam food, fry food, bake bread, and autoclave items.
The essential components include:
A vacuum tube (triple cavity),
A trough shaped Compound Parabolic Curve (PCP) high efficiency reflector,
A heat retention cook box.
A galvanized aluminum metal frame bent into a compound parabolic curve, surrounds the vacuum tube, which attaches to the insulated cook box.
Vacuum Tube with Cooking Oil
The 12cm by 170 cm selectively coated, triple cavity vacuum tube holds only 2.5 liters of high heat vegetable oil that is used as its heat transfer fluid.
An additional round stainless steel pan is situated within the steel component and acts as the cook pan for all heating functions.
Advantages of Using the Blazing Tube
The Blazing Tube system is designed to be user friendly, safe to operate and reliable. Because energy conservation is its main attribute (heated cooking oil retains heat very well), the solar energy collected by the system produces constant cooking temperatures, even into the early evening.
Because the reflector is a trough shaped CPC, and the exterior of the vacuum tube remains cool, there is no burn risk to the user.
Since the food is prepared in the cook box, above the vacuum tube and over a meter off ground level, eye protection is unnecessary. The usual precaution must be taken when handling hot pots however as with any traditional stove
Maximizing Sunlight for Cooking
Many tropical regions of the world experience intermittent sunny and cloudy periods daily. The Blazing Tube system addresses this solar inconsistency successfully due to the thermal storage, which the 2.5 liters of internal oil provide. If multiple meals are to be prepared, one or two daily repositionings of the unit are required. Since the CPC performs like a solar funnel, the unit does not require more elaborate tracking by the user e.g. on a hourly basis.
To maximize the benefit of the sun’s free energy source, the system can be oriented to the East early in the day, or even the night before, (front wheels allow easy adjustment). This allows, even before cooking commences, for the transfer fluid in the vacuum tube (cooking oil) to be preheated to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Effectively pre-heating the system, utilizing the very first sun rays of the day, enables the Blazing Tube to respond quickly when food or water needs be prepared in the cook pan, providing short cook times.
The unit offers good stability in windy conditions and can be equipped with a cook box lock if food theft is a concern. A small roof could be built above the cook box to provide shade or rain protection for the user, without interfering with the solar input to the vacuum tube area. The Blazing Tube can be successfully operated at high altitude in freezing temperatures due to the vacuum tube, it’s oil transfer fluid and the well insulated cook box.
Families can perform several tasks each sunny day, such as drinking water disinfection (by pasteurization or boiling) and cooking, often two separate meals if desired. Cook times can vary according to weather conditions. On sunny days the unit rivals a modern electric or gas stove performance. Most any cooking technique can be accommodated, making cultural acceptance easier.