My family members are die-hard barbeque folk. Our grill is positioned under a trellis so rain or shine, day or night, summer or winter, they go out for a barbeque. This is no exaggeration. They will grill chicken in a blizzard in just a T-shirt if that’s what it would take.
Nobody can blame them. Barbequed 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, neighbours, 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 grills needed to the sun in order to function, which means that the environment suffers by night and evening barbeques, which, to be honest, is the prime time to have them.
This genius found the perfect solution for us to barbeque without ruining our environment.
Wilson Solar-Powered Barbeques Without Fuel
MIT professor David Wilson developed a new solar technology that will bring a solar-powered grill 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 barbeque 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 favourite 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.”
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 grills 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 barbeque.
If you love barbeque, 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.