Improving solar cooker performance using phase change materials: A comprehensive review
School of Engineering
© 2020 International Solar Energy Society Solar cookers (SCs) provide a renewable source for cooking applications. However, their main drawback is that they cannot be utilized during the shortage of sunlight. Moreover, most SCs have a relatively low cooking speed and can expose the user to serious solar radiation. Using thermal energy storage (TES) can considerably overcome these limitations. This work provides a rich literature review of the applications of phase change materials (PCMs) as TES mediums to improve the SC performance. The paper indicates the feasibility of PCMs for improving the cooking performance and thermal parameters of SCs with lower cooking time in addition to the possibility of evening cooking. Furthermore, the review discusses the influence of thermal and geometric features of PCM on the cooking behavior. Additionally, the effect of the heat transfer fluids and the compatibility of the encapsulation materials are also included. Besides, the review also discusses the challenges of using PCMs with SCs related to optimal PCM quantity, PCM type, low exergetic efficiency, non-efficient thermal control, mechanical strength, and thermal conductivity limitations. Finally, the economic and environmental aspects, and usage of solid-solid PCMs are recommended as future research for further studies.