GoSun solar grill offers a greener way to barbecue

GoSun solar grill offers a greener way to barbecue

A group led by inventor Patrick Sherwin has posted a Kickstarter project named GoSun Grill, it uses sunlight to charge a thermal battery which in turn is used to cook food inside a glass vacuum tube. The difference between this grill and other solar cookers is that it will continue to work if it gets cloudy out, or even after the sun goes down.

The name might be a bit misleading, as the is actually a solar oven, not a solar powered barbecue grill— is cooked in an airtight chamber using heat from the thermal battery, rather than directly from the sun. Still, it is a promising idea as the pledge numbers indicate—the GoSun has drawn more than double the original goal. The draw is that food can be cooked virtually anywhere—the grill is portable (it weighs just 20 pounds)—it can be carried in a special knapsack on the back, without the need for an additional fuel source, and because it can cook rain or shine, it provides the opportunity for a cookout that will not be spoiled by a spell of bad weather. Cooking times vary, of course depending on the weather and the type of food being cooked—from ten minutes to two hours.

The grill looks similar to other solar cookers, it has the familiar parabolic reflecting shield, but inside it is very different, courtesy of the thermal battery the team developed—it is based on phase-changing thermal wax inside of a polymer coated aluminum case. The team says the idea for the battery came as a result of work being done in Guatemala—they were looking for ways to make cooking easier outdoors during the rainy season. After a year of testing materials—they started with sand—the team came up with their current concept, a battery that can absorb a lot of heat, and will release it slowly. It allows for cooking food at an even 300 to 400 °F over a period long enough to fully cook a meal. Putting the food inside of a vacuum tube, they add, helps the food retain its moisture and aids in keeping the heat in.

Those interested can get one of the grills by pledging just $349, though it should be noted that the battery is an extra $100. There is also an option to buy other accessories.


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May 05, 2015
Still prefer my foldout Fresnel lens after finding a suitable chunk of stone from nearby. Sizzled aubergine and asparagus with olives and sun dried tomatoes mmm, bring on the summer!

May 05, 2015
This grill could solve the issue that has been plagueing many of the "solar grills for Africa" projects that aim to reduce use of firewood (or expensive fuels) in third world countries.
While solar cookers work very well at midday, there, the main (hot) meal of the day is eaten traditionally late at night - which has caused the naive approach of solar concentrator cookers fail.

But from the article it seems that the product will be way too expensive to mass produce and hand out to a significant number of people. I hope someone can take this concept and run a cheap version.

May 05, 2015
If and when the sun shines.

Great for the castaways on Gilligan's Island. Not so good for coastal Washington State

May 06, 2015
Where is the battery exactly? From the video, there seems to be no place in the device for the heat battery, or for anything with enough mass to store heat for several hours of cooking.

though it should be noted that the battery is an extra $100.


With this information, it raises the suspicion that the heat battery is separately inserted into the tube, where it takes up some room from the food being cooked. Otherwise it's a normal solar concentrator.

The problem I'm having is that I'm not aware of any phase-changing "thermal wax" with a melting point between 300-400 F.

Reading from the ScienceDirect "Review on thermal energy storage with phase change
materials and applications" (2009), paraffin based PCMs only work up to about 75 C and non-paraffins to a maximum of 127 C or 260 F (Benzamide).

So it seems the battery option won't actually reach the stated temperature. The 300-400 F must refer to direct sunlight only.


May 06, 2015
According to the company, their "proprietary PCM material" has a melting point at 310 F and contains 300 Wh of energy in a mass of 1.8 kg, contained within a tray at the bottom of the tube. Once charged up, the tube insulation slows the convective heat loss, and presumably closing the lid would prevent radiative loss.

It's certainly no wax, but what is it?

There's also the interesting prospect that one could charge up several batteries and use them more or less like hot stones to cook something bigger. 300 Wh per brick isn't too much though.

May 08, 2015
The GoSun Grill is an achievement without fuel cooker, making a dinner for eight as quick as a barbecue, yet without the need to screen your sustenance or clean up the wreckage.

May 11, 2015
Why does this website use Fahrenheit instead of the standard in science, the degree Celsius?

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