TreeHugger has shown dozens of solar cookers over the years, and they all work pretty much the same way, and are designed around the principle of adapting the oven to standard North American cooking. We have also shown a lot of evacuated tube solar water heaters that work like thermos bottles to transfer and hold heat quickly and efficiently.
The GoSun stove cooks your food in an evacuated tube, retaining almost 90% of the heat energy concentrated on it and reaching 550 degrees F in minutes. It is absolutely brilliant for a number of reasons, and is going to change the way we think about solar cooking. It is a great example of the principle of adhocism, a term coined by Architect and writer Charles Jencks:
It can be applied to many human endeavours, denoting a principle of action having speed or economy and purpose or utility. Basically it involves using an available system or dealing with an existing situation in a new way to solve a problem quickly and effectively. It is a method of creation relying particularly on resources which are already at hand.
The first thing that I love is the fact that it adapts an existing technology to an entirely new and unexpected purpose. Decades of development have gone into making evacuated tubes very efficient, and in the past few years Chinese production has driven down the cost to a fraction of what it was five years ago.
The next intuitive leap that is so important is the realization that who cares, if you can't bake a cake or do a whole roast. The whole idea behind Chinese cooking, for example, is a cuisine where everything was chopped into small pieces because fuel was scarce and expensive, and small pieces tossed into a wok cook very quickly and use very little fuel. You could cook every recipe Fuchsia Dunlop ever wrote in this thing. There is a whole world of recipes that would slide right into that tube.
Instead of a big solar oven that adapts to our conventional idea of cooking, The GoSun requires a bit of adaptation of our diet. But that really is a feature, not a bug; it can be a healthier diet with less food waste. In the video, inventor Patrick Sherwin notes that they are looking for recipes; I list a few great ones in the related links to the left.
The GoSun has already blown through its target on Kickstarter, but this is one to watch.