Suman Pao, Vikas Gautam and Juwel Tripura, all three engineering (mechanical) students, explain that the solar heater containing a parabolic reflector works in conjunction with a drum containing water.
Explaining the mechanism, Suman Pao said the aluminium dish of the solar heater reflects sun's radiant energy into the drum with a lid, atop which cooking is done.
During rainy season the drum can double as a rain water collector too, the students said.
Pao said, "The earth is bathed in a steady flow of radiant energy from the sun. In our part of the world on a sunny summer day each square metre receives about 1000 watt of energy per second from the sun."
As energy is spread out, it does not rapidly heat things the way a microwave or electric oven does. So by the same way as a magnifying lens burns paper and wood by concentrating sunlight on one point, cooking can be done, he said.
He claimed that the parabolic reflector can raise the temperature of water up to 139° C, sufficient enough to cook cereals and vegetables.
"Our parabolic solar heater is most suitable for boiling water, cooking, roasting, baking, grilling or frying. Most importantly, it can also be used in a remote region where there is no access to fuel."
It acts as a source of clean energy and clean water supply, he says.
Pao's friend Vikas Gautam said that the solar heater could be used in commercial and industrial sectors where a large quantity of water was required to be heated to a fairly high temperature.
Pao said that it was a one-time investment and doesn't require a highly skilled person to operate the device.
Pointing out that the biggest advantage of solar cookers is their eco-friendliness, he said, "By using a solar cooker, you can let go of your dependence on gas or electricity. You can maintain better air quality indoors and reduce the amount of carbon monoxide emissions."
Food cooked on a solar heater has no danger of being burned and also the flavour remains intact. Baked foods also retain moisture and softness if the solar cooker is used properly, they said.