Copenhagen solar cooker

The Copenhagen solar cooker is a very clever, lightweight, portable and quick to set up solar cooker invented by Sharon Clausson. It is much like a car sunshade solar cooker in that to adjust it you set the cooking pot down flat and then adjust the reflectors around it. Unlike the car sunshade, the Copenhagen is suitable for all sun angles, meaning all times of the year and day.

Copenhagen solar cooker, side view.
Copenhagen solar cooker, top view cooking something.

You can buy a Copenhagen solar cooker for an incredibly cheap price for one that will suit almost all your cooking needs and is of high quality. You can purchase one from the inventor's webpage or from their ebay store . Or if you usually deal with a specific solar cooker seller, ask if they sell them. They might.

Alternatively you can make your own Copenhagen solar cooker from scratch using cardboard and aluminum foil. The reflective panels that come with the purchasable one are much more reflective and uniform than a cardboard and aluminum foil one though, getting hotter temperatures faster. They last longer. But the homemade one, despite having only aluminum foil reflectors, does work well.

Homemade Copenhagen solar cooker sitting on the ground, cooking. Homemade Copenhagen solar cooker sitting on the ground, cooking.

The Copenhagen solar cooker that you can buy

The remainder of this page is about the commercially available Copenhagen that you can buy. The following are what I received, though it may vary slightly as the product evolves. Also shown is an indication of how incredibly portable it is. Try doing that with your kitchen stove!

The parts I received.
The parts that arrived with my Copenhagen solar cooker.
Very portable!
Demonstating that the Copenhagen solar cooker is very portable.

Assembling the Copenhagen solar cooker

The following steps are meant to be followed along with the numberd photos below.

Step 1. Pull the shoelace up through a hole in one of the wooden pieces. Leave around 6 inches behind for tying the ends of the lace together in step 9.

Step 2. Pull the lace up through a hole in one of the reflectors with the reflective side facing up.

Step 3. Pull the lace up through one of the holes in the other wooden piece. Don't worry about the other hole in the panel you just did. We'll lace up that hole in step 8.

Step 1. First hole 1st wooden piece.
Step 2. First hole in 1st panel.
Step 3. Other wooden piece.

Step 4. Slip the corner of another panel between the two wooden pieces. The panel corner should be the one with the holes in it.

Step 5. Line up the holes in the two wooden pieces with a hole in the panel and push the lace down through all three layers.

Step 6. Bring the lace up through the next set of holes. Make sure the lace is pulled tightly everywhere. At that point that panel is secured.

Step 7. Insert the next panel and repeat steps 5 and 6.

Step 4. Slip in second panel.
Step 5. Lace holes in one corner.
Step 6. Lace other corner.
Step 7. Repeat for next panel.

Step 8. Finally all four panels are in. The last hole should be the one you'd left behind in step 2 for the first panel you'd put in. After this you should have the two ends of the lace on the non reflective side of the panels, the bottom of the solar cooker.

Step 9. Flip the whole thing over, make sure the lace is tight everywhere and tie the two ends together. A simple bow will do.

Step 10. Flip it all back over being careful not to scratch the panels.

Step 8. Other hole in 1st panel.
Step 9. Tie lace ends together.
Step 10. Carefully flip over.

Step 11. Lift the panels up and clip adjacent ends together. Do it so that the panels all have around the same angle but don't worry what that angle is. Adjusting the angles to reflect the most sunlight is covered below.

Step 11. Clip panels together.

Aiming and adjusting the reflective panels

After you have the reflectors clipped together, put the cooking pot in place. You next need to aim the solar cooker at the sun and adjust the reflectors to better reflect the sun's light to the cooking pot.

Aiming at the sun

Perhaps the easiest way to aim at the sun is to use the shadow made by the solar cooker. Turn the solar cooker so the the upper corner of one of the reflectors is closest to the sun. Of course that means the upper corner of the opposite reflector will be farthest from the sun (see photo below.)

Look straight down at the one farthest from the sun and you should see a shadow. If the cooker is not facing the sun the shadow you see should be lopsided. Turn the cooker until it's no longer lopsided.

Lopsided shadow. Bad.
Lopsided shadows before aiming the Copenhagen solar cooker at
      the sun.
Less lopsided shadow. Good!
Even shadows after aiming the Copenhagen solar cooker at the sun.

You can repeat this step after you've adjusted the reflectors better as in the following subsection.

For more see this page all about lining up solar cookers with the sun for more on that.

Adjusting the reflective panels

The reflectors are adjusted by moving the clips and changing how much the adjacent reflectors overlap each other. The photos show how to adjust the reflectors for the different extremes in sun positions from morning to midday to late afternoon or evening. Just how high the sun is depends on the time of year and what latitude you're at (how far you are from the equator.)

The side reflectors should form a smooth curve from the front to back reflectors.

High sun - midday.
Copenhagen solar cooker reflector panels adjusted for a high 
      sun angle, around midday.
Low sun - morning/late afternoon or evening.
Copenhagen solar cooker reflector panels adjusted for a
      low sun angle, morning, late afternoon or evening.

The video below goes through another, more precise method for doing this. For more indepth general understanding see this page about designing reflectors for solar cookers which is essentially what you're doing while you adjust these very flexible reflectors.

Copenhagen solar cooker video

This is a video I made showing much of what is above but with additional details on adjusting the panels and a bit about cooking pots.
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