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Consumer Electronics

Fuel-free Portable Solar Grill Debuts at CES

08 January 2016

Want to grill at the beach or campsite without having to lug a propane canister with you? At CES, GoSun introduced the world’s first fuel-free solar powered grill. The GoSun Grill utilizes energy from the sun to bake, boil, fry or steam a meal for eight in less than one hour. The grill incorporates vacuum tube technology that allows for fast cooking and portability without propane or charcoal. The tubes are made of sturdy Pyrex and due to the vacuum's reverse pressure, in the worst case scenario which the company does not expect to occur with normal use, GoSun's cooking chambers actually implode if they break, so they do not send projectiles of broken glass.

In operation, sunlight is focused by parabolic reflectors onto a vacuum tube that converts 80% of sun rays into heat that builds up to temperatures of 550o F (288o C). By simply placing the grill in direct sunlight—regardless of wind or ambient temperatures—the tube can get hot enough to cook. Despite the high cooking temperatures, the exterior of the grill remains cool. In addition, the high-moisture cooking environment provides flavorful food, albeit without the smoky, charred flavor of gas or charcoal grills. The GoSun cookers are said to be able to cook almost anything including, eggs, vegetables, fish, chicken, meats and even bake biscuits with no emissions.

Recognizing that not all outdoor cooking occurs during daylight hours, GoSun is also developing a solar electric hybrid grill that stores the sun’s energy to enable cooking at night. The hybrid storage solution includes a photovoltaic panel to capture the sun’s energy and a battery to enable cooking at night or when it’s cloudy. By placing the electrical heating element on the grill and leveraging the vacuum tube’s insulation capability, the hybrid grill cooks using only one-tenth of the energy of a traditional electric stove, according to the company.

There are several solar models available from GoSun that vary by size and price. The hybrid GoSun is most similar to the company's largest solar model, the GoSun Grill, which will cost $600 when it becomes available during the first half of 2016. The hybrid grill will be available in the second half of 2016.

GoSun cites U.N. statistics that show around 3 billion people in the developing world cook with “dirty” fuel sources such as wood, dung or charcoal. As a result, smoke inhalation related illness ranks with malaria and AIDs as a significant health problem in many countries. In addition, fuel wood scarcity drives families around the world to spend many hours collecting and transporting heavy loads of fuel wood, often to the detriment of already endangered ecosystems. If fire wood is purchased it often requires a sizeable portion of the family's income. The GoSun Stove team aims to reduce the use of wood and charcoal for cooking and the company says that every GoSun sold subsidizes the sale of a GoSun to the people who can benefit the most in the developing world. Pilot projects using GoSun stations that can feed 80 people have been tested in such places as the highlands of Guatemala.

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