I found this product while looking for portable solar chargers and was fascinated by what the manufactures claims are. I was to say the least ‘sceptical’ as to how efficient it could be. However, I was interested enough to buy one but unfortunately it was in the middle of winter and so there was not a lot of sunshine.
The claim was, that even in weaker sunlight, hot water can be generated. Sure enough, I followed the instructions, filled the tube with water (500ml or 3 cups) and pushed the lid/integral thermometer in, it was reading just below 10c. I set up the reflectors and pointed the kettle in the general direction of the sun using the integral stand. The temperature outside was almost freezing and there was certainly a frost apparent but the sky was clear and the sun was up enough to cast a shadow behind the kettle.
I checked the thermometer every 15 minutes and it rose almost 6c degrees every time. To summarise, it took just under 2 hours to achieve 66c but it kept it at that for the rest of the day.
Several days after that test we got snow, so I filled the tube up with snow and it took about two hours to melt the snow to become drinkable.
Moving on to summer (June 2013) I filled the tube with cold tap water (10c) and set it up in full sunlight, the temperature was easily rising 10c every ten minutes boiling water in about 1.5 hours.
So what is so impressive about the kettle?
The kettle is absorbing sunlight and generating heat for free
The kettle is about the size of a normal thermos flask but unlike the thermos you can keep the contents hot using sunlight
It can be used anywhere there is sunlight, up a mountain maybe, at sea on a boat, at picnics, even at home in a power cut
It can be used to heat water for hot drinks or the dreaded noodle snack
It can be used to cook rice, pasta and eggs; we used it to cook nettles as a spinach substitute.
I would suggest it could be carried in the car in the winter during bad weather. It will melt snow into drinkable water, eating snow can cause problems.
It could be used to sterilize medical equipment in emergency situations
In winter emergency situations, the kettle will take the water or snow part the way to boiling and could be completed on an alternative source of heat but saving valuable fuel.
The probe type thermometer looks as though it could be used to check the temperature of other cooked products such as meat ensuring it is safe to eat.
The reflector mirrors could also be used for emergency signalling when out and about but remember to remove the protective film from the reflector first, it works a lot better.
If nothing else you could use this like a thermos flask with the advantage of keeping the contents hotter for longer but this kettle is much more than that and we would pack one into an emergency ‘go bag’ or carry one when out and about at work.
If you are out camping you could set it up the night before, ready to catch the sun first thing in the morning and have some boiling water when you get up for a drink or a wash/shave.
There are endless possibilities when you start thinking about it, perhaps it might be the only way you can ensure your water is drinkable by boiling it in the solar kettle.