Monday, July 30, 2012

The exciting conclusion to solar oven cookies

The solar oven cookies were not quite a success, meaning that they were a complete and utter failure. One of things that I realized that you need for a successful solar oven is a Doppler radar system, because clouds come out of nowhere in this city. My early prediction of clear skies was wrong and by 11am on last Monday, clouds completely covered the sky. So the cookies only got to the ambient temperature by the time I got home from work, and were still gooey and tasted like styrofoam (a taste that may exist in whatever we try to bake in the future, we need to do more experimenting). But before the summer ends, I am determined to cook something to completion. I think I am going to try something simple next, like trying to toast something or melt some cheese or a M&M (the hard shell may be too much for the oven). 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Solar Oven Cookie Fail

After the Noachian flood that happened on Saturday, the sky on Sunday was probably the bluest I have ever seen it in Beijing. So what do you do when you have blue skies, you bake some cookies in your solar oven that you have yet to test and have no idea how to use. After a mad dash back and forth to the grocery store, because I kept forgetting ingredients for our peanut butter cookies, we finally got dough mixed and out in the oven by 4pm, which we discovered is not enough time particularly on a cloudy day to cook the cookies (if you look at the picture carefully you can see the clouds in the glass). Apparently, our oven is not able to get to 374 degrees kelvin in two hours. Thus, our cookies ended up just being semi-warm dough. On the upside the dough was delicious, on the downside they weren't cookies. However, today is another sunny day and I put the cookies in the oven before I went to work this morning, so it should have a full day of sunlight as the rains on Saturday guaranteed clear skies for at least a week. I will give an update later on the success or failure of the second try. If all works out, we might upgrade to baking donkey ribs in the oven on the next try. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's hot in Beijing....

...and this dog knows it

Monday, July 02, 2012

How to make a solar oven in da Jing

This title was blatantly chosen to drive traffic. 

Recently, the Golzer and I were jonesing for some homemade cookies, but realized we had no way to make them; thus, we decide that we needed to make a solar oven (real story: I have a ledge outside my window and I noticed it got a lot of son, and said to Golze I should make a solar oven and he was like let's do it, that's what we learn to do in architecture school). China may be one of the best places in the world to make a solar oven, essential all the parts we used to make it we could have gotten for free, although we did pay money for stuff, because we were to lazy to go walk and look for it.

Parts breakdown:
The styrofoam box we got from Jenny Lou's for free (downside it smells like fish, upside we get fish cookies)
The piece of glass on the top cost RMB 40 (however, the night before I was at a place that had old glass windows laying around that I could have taken for free)
The card board for the reflectors free (randomly asked some guy for a piece of cardboard)
Glue RMB 1
Aluminum foil around RMB 30 (unless you buy 200 sqft)
Extra pieces of styrofoam RMB 5 per half a kilo (this is like unnecessary and mostly for aesthetics, also you probably can find it for free). 
We also got a mirror for free that we are still trying to figure out how to attach (more on that in the future)

So essential the only thing you need to pay for is the glue and the aluminum foil, the rest of the stuff can be found lying around various places in da Jing. And if you find the right nongmin cart driver you just might be able to get it all in one place.

If you came to this site to learn how to build a solar oven I am sorry, but we don't actually know how, as this thing is untested and like to cause a solar flare, but I can recommend this site that looks like it knows what it is doing. 

Look for more exciting post on our solar oven project and stay tuned to find out if our cookies taste like fish.