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The Sun Oven History

A recent invention harnesses the greatest and cheapest power source in our solar system to perform a number of life-sustaining tasks.

The device, the Sun Oven, was developed by an entrepreneur and refined with input from Sandia National Laboratories. As its name implies, the Sun Oven is a solar-powered roaster that can cook food, boil water and sterilize medical instruments. The Sun Oven captures and focuses the sun's energy into its black porcelain interior via adjustable aluminum reflectors that open up to Helios-like metallic petals. Weather permitting, the average temperature of the Sun Oven is between 300 and 350 degrees.

Retired restaurateur, Tom Burns, began developing his cordless oven in 1986, a project that reflected both his former profession and concern for living conditions in developing nations. Burns envisioned his creation as a way to help feed the hungry, preserve dwindling wood supplies, improve health care and create jobs.

The Sun Oven is available in two versions: the portable "Global" model, a 21-pounder, and the much larger 1,000-pound "Villager", which can bake 50 loaves of bread in an hour.

Thousands of portable models have been shipped to more than 100 countries around the globe. Sun ovens have helped feed refugees in relocation camps, natives in remote Third World villages, workers at field sites, climbers on the slopes of Mount Everest and soldiers during the Persian Gulf War. Before Tom Burns and his company, Burns-Milwaukee Inc., (now Sun Oven's International) brought the oven to the market, he turned to Sandia's Solar Thermal Design Assistance Center (STAD).

A battery of tests were performed to measure the oven's temperature climb, distribution and uniformity, as well as its reliability and performance under varying conditions. The experts at Sandia also fine- tuned the reflectors and designed a dolly for transportation of the larger model.

Sandia's suggestions included displaying the Sun Oven at the University of Mexico at Sonora; the 1994 Climate Challenge in Washington, D.C.; and at Harmony, an environmental research resort in the Virgin Islands. The latter led to an appearance on the "Good Morning America" television show.

Click Here To View Larger Graphic Of Global Sun Oven

Testimonial from:  Karen Perez

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