Image credit: Popular Mechanics
From a heat-storing solar grill to solar ovens created for an international market, we've seen plenty of commercial models of sun-powered cooking devices. And from a solar oven death match to an oven created from old CDs, we've featured a few DIY varieties too. But there are now some promising signs that solar cooking is going mainstream, with Popular Mechanics featuring a build-your-own solar oven project for your average DIY enthusiast. Like most solar ovens, the Popular Mechanics Hot-Box Solar Cooker is ultimately a pretty simple affair. Consisting of an open plywood box, some foam insulation, reflectors, a glass top, and some black spray-paint, it is quite simply a mini-greenhouse with heat absorbing walls. But it's this very simplicity that I find so attractive about solar cookers. While we are spending billions chasing exciting technologies like plug-in hybrids, solar photovoltaic panels and the like, it is easy to forget that solar energy can be deployed, sometimes for next to nothing, to heat our homes, cook our food, warm our showers, dry our clothes, and generally do what it does best—heat things up.
Sure, let's continue to pursue high-tech solar technology any and every way we can. But let's also remember to pick the low hanging fruit first. And just in case the Popular Mechanics version looks like too much hard work, here's a video of a similar design built out of cardboard for $7.50.