You can use this solar grill even on cloudy days (Update)

the gosun grill is a portable solar cooker
Just a few weeks ago, we lamented that no one was really reinventing the grill, in response to a cool Indiegogo funding campaign for an extremely portable, eight-pound grill. Cool as it was, the collapsible grill still required charcoal to operate. To get away from having to burn fuel, the grill needs to go solar.

Thanks to inventor Patrick Sherwin, it finally has. Kickstarter aficionados might remember his last Kickstarter for the GoSun Stove. His latest crowdfunding campaign is for a larger version, the GoSun Grill. In addition to its increased capacity — the grill can make food enough for eight — the GoSun Grill also has a special thermal battery that allows users to make a meal even when the sun isn’t shining.

Made of a special phase-change organic wax that melts thanks to the sun, the battery takes two hours to charge and retains heat for over four hours, so you can cook at night. When you load in the food, the wax transfers its stored heat whatever you’re cooking through two layers of metal. As the battery returns to its solid state, the rising heat cooks your meal.

On a cloudless day when the sun’s at its strongest, cooking hot dogs can take as little as 10 minutes. The grill comes with cooking pans for baking, broiling, roasting, and steaming five cups of food at a time and a glass vacuum tube that insulates the food from the outside conditions and absorbs the light of the reflectors. There’s an included temperature gauge, and the grill can heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. At 20 pounds, the grill is reasonably portable, too.

While it’s not going to give you a seared steak, the grill can bake your fish, stir fry your vegetables, and make your muffins. Its versatility, in addition to the fact that it doesn’t require fuel, make it ideal for developing countries. GoSun has partnered with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to help bring safer and more affordable cooking options to countries such as Bangladesh, Ghana, and India.

GoSun has already exceeded its $140,000 funding goal by over $50,000. Early birds can still get a grill for $349 and save $200. They should start shipping in September of this year, hopefully in time to have one last grilling party before summer ends.

Update 7/26/2016: Despite its plans to start shipping the GoSun Grill in September 2015, the company has run into some issues and hasn’t yet started fulfilling orders. Its updated timeline suggests the grills could start shipping in August. It will also be shipping without the phase-change battery that was a big selling point for many backers.

“In short, we got in over our heads with optimism on the PCM (phase change material) and we found the reality to be very different from our original experiments,” creator Patrick Sherwin wrote in an update in January. “Upon reflection we realized that the electric battery is a more practical and elegant solution. We’re excited to see where this even more versatile and reliable technology can take us in the coming years,” Matt Gillespie of GoSun told Digital Trends. 

Instead, those who paid the extra $100 for the battery will have the option of including an AC adaptor to power the grill with electricity on cloudy days; otherwise, they will be refunded the $100, Sherwin explained on the Kickstarter campaign comment page. 

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